Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our Birds Are Back

Earlier this Spring, we had two bird families who built nests around our house. First, a tiny hummingbird built a nest in our courtyard, in a spot where I could watch her perfectly from our front window. We saw her feed the two babies that hatched, and over time we watched them grow – could tell they were bigger from the tiny beaks that stuck up from the nest and got longer over time.

In our backyard, on the top of one of our patio posts, a finch couple raised a family in a messy nest where we could barely see the top of the mom’s head where she sat protecting them.

The hummingbirds were the first to leave – one flew away, and the other was unfortunately buried in our yard after we realized it had been sitting in the nest for too long. I read on the internet that the nest might be used again by the same bird, or by another, so we left it there in the courtyard on its branch in the magnolia tree.

We never did know when the finches left. We knew when they were fed because they cried loudly in high-pitched chirps. And after a while the nest was empty. But then we saw the male on the fence nearby, feeding the two “babies” who were now bigger than him. I read on the internet that once the babies leave the nest, the dad feeds them while the mom starts a new brood. I kept an eye out for the mom, but I assumed she had picked a new location for her family, maybe one with a better view?

Then this weekend, searching for the finch mom, I stood on the patio and squinted to adjust my eyes to the darkness where the nest sat, and suddenly I realized I was looking at the mom’s eye, peering at me, cautiously.

And the hummingbird is back, too! The whirring motor of a hummingbird caught my attention in the courtyard again, and I was happy to see her sitting on the courtyard nest! Now I run to the window every chance I get, and I worry again because it’s windy and her branch gets whipped around in the wind.

These families aren’t the only ones who like our yard; finches and sparrows love our birdbath and feeders. And while I watered the grass with a hose a few days ago, a sparrow landed next to me on the trellis and looked at me and my water. Then he flew down next to where the water landed, walked into the spray, and began to drink the water from the blades of grass. I was careful not to spray him too much.

So, our birds are back – the families and the passersby. And from what I’ve read, they will probably increase the size of their families several times during this summer. So all summer long, I will be a very protective, watchful…Grandma?

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