House finches’ nest in top of dried boxwood wreath – 5/29/16
While I’ve been busy getting the kitchen garden planted (nearly done!), we have had new neighbors move in both in front and back of our house. First I noticed the signs of nest building in a birdhouse hanging on our backyard fence. Later I spotted the mom and dad, which I believe are a pair of house sparrows.
The messy start of nest building – 5/11/16
The house sparrows’ nest is looking neater. 5/29/16
Mrs. House Sparrow
Mr. House Sparrow
This was the first time I had used a fresh boxwood wreath for Christmas. Another woman who was looking at them back in December told me that she had hung one indoors and kept it up for months because she liked how it dried to a pretty yellow color. I decided to buy one and try decorating it instead of a pine wreath this year. Later I turned it into a Valentines wreath by removing the gold and red bow and berries and adding a big pink bow and pink hearts. I took the hearts out and left the bow on through Easter. Then I took the bow off and was thinking about decorating the wreath with fake birds, perhaps, and/or a nest–when the house finches came and put a real nest on top. Too bad it’s not artistically placed further down in the center part of the wreath!
Christmas Wreath 2015
Valentines Wreath 2016
Spring Wreath 2016 – Dried boxwood decorated by a bird’s nest barely visible at the top
Mr. House Finch checking on the eggs.
The finches’ eggs, pictured at the top of this post, hatched a a couple weeks ago. Now I can hear them squeaking on the other side of the door when Mommy and Daddy come by. Here is what they looked like then and now.
Newly hatched house finches – 6/8/16
2-week old house finches – 6/20/16
As you can see, I can get pictures of the finch nest from both inside and outside our front door. It is a lot harder to see what is going on inside the house sparrow nest. This is all I got.
House Sparrow Nest – 6/20/16
Birds of the Past
That same birdhouse that the sparrows are in now was the site of my favorite backyard residents six years ago–Eastern bluebirds! I was thrilled to see a bluebird for the first time, and it was in my own backyard. Then I realized they were building a nest! Prior to that, nothing but wasps had ever moved into any of the birdhouses I hung on our side fence. I took several pictures and videos during that exciting time.
They’re building a nest! That’s Mrs. Bluebird (on the play set beam) bringing materials for it while Mr. Bluebird is keeping a watch out on the fence by their home. 6/11/10
Mr. Bluebird checking on the nest. 6/20/10
Mr. Bluebird 6/20/10
Here are the videos:
Unfortunately, this story had a tragic ending. I found the birdhouse on the ground one morning after a windy storm had come through. I’m not entirely sure whether the wind knocked it down or if a critter had come by and helped. I put it back up and wound a wire around its hanger so it would stay put. (I do this on all the bird houses now–lesson learned.) I saw the bluebirds in my yard a day or two later, but they must have moved on to new nesting grounds. Alas, I haven’t seen any around here since then.
The next year, a mourning dove built a nest in the gutter at the corner of our house by the deck–not a good idea! A month later that nest was taken out by a storm, and I found an egg shell in one of the pots hanging on our deck railing.
Morning Dove in Corner Gutter – 5/4/11
Morning Dove Watching Nest – 5/25/11
Nest Hit by Storm – 6/10/11
Egg Shell Found in Pot – 6/10/11
Others Welcome, Too!
Of course, non-birdie visitors are also always welcome at the Chez Rea gardens–even during planting season when the house is a wreck and the gardens are far from done. I say that so I could end this post with a picture of my husband’s mom, grandmother, and aunt who came by a couple weeks ago when the New Dawn rose on the arbor was in full bloom. I have a couple weeks left to get the house and garden ready for hosting our annual Fourth of July party.
Mom R., Aunt Joan, and Grandma B. – 6/8/16