|A house finch nest, conveniently placed in one of my hanging planters.|
Back in the beginning of April, I came home to quite a surprise when I went to water the plants on my front porch. Some little avian thought the pansies my girlfriend hung would be the perfect place to make a home. The nest was about 12 cm in diameter, with a 6 cm diameter depression, and was made mostly of twigs and grasses, with a bit of feather and plastic thrown in for good measure. It held three, 2 cm, white eggs (with a few brown flecks), that I initially worried belonged to the even more non-native house sparrow (Passer domesticus). I took a quick photo, and ran back inside, waiting at the window to see if mom or dad would stop by so I could get a positive identification.
|The female house finch returns to the nest.|
|A hatchling house finch pokes his head above the rim of the nest.|
|Five little dinosaurs, in a very small nest.|
|A male house finch feeding his hungry chicks.|
Mr. and Mrs. Finch spent all of their waking hours flying back and forth from the hanging planter to feed their voracious chicks. They were two of the most dedicated parents I've ever seen, and not once did any chick ever apear to go hungry, and be any less fit than its siblings. As they continued to grow, the nest got smaller and smaller. I was amazed at how all five chicks were able to pile onto one another and become virtually invisible to anyone staring at the nest from a distance. But about two weeks after they hatched, it became clear that space was becoming an issue. I sat and watched as one day, five little birds stood up around the edge of the nest and began to stretch their wings.
|A fledgling house finch, ready to leave the nest.|
|Yay! They made it.|
Occasionally, when I pull into my driveway after work, I'm greeted by a small flock of little red headed birds. Maybe I'm just being sentimental, but I believe it to be the five chicks, all male (females are known to lay one sex of egg first), that started their lives on my front porch. Regardless, I'm confident that I'll have more houses finches next season. Is this problematic on some level? Yes of course. They are not a native species, and utilize the resources of birds that should be traditionally found in the area. But new life, no matter what form it takes, is always a joy to have around, so I look forward to their return next season!