Monday, April 21, 2008
Empty Nesters (Nearly)
Today marks the sixteeth day since our first house finch hatched. Out of five eggs, four hatched (we're still not sure what happened to the fifth). The past two weeks have been a wonder of transformation, as our little chicks have grown from blobs of downy strangeness into tiny birds complete with feathers.
Here's a snapshot taken shortly after all of the birds had hatched:
This was one of the last "family" pictures, taken two days ago. I love the downy eyebrows! As you can see, it was getting a bit crowded in there -- not to mention messy!
This picture was taken yesterday, while we still had all of our birds. I don't quite know what this little fellow was thinking. Did he assume that opening his fierce-looking beak would scare off the "monsters?"
Every time we checked on the birds, the parents would be chirping nervously nearby. You might just be able to make them out in this picture; they're perched in a convenient maple tree.
I would like to think that this is some kind of fraternal embrace, but I have a feeling their position is due to the crowded living conditions:
And then, this afternoon, my sister and I discovered that three of our little chicks had flown the nest, leaving just one (very scared) little bird. Is there anything like a bird's downy softness? We've been very careful in touching them, but we couldn't resist a few caresses.
Over the past week the chicks had started making noises during their feedings, and as I walked down the hallway I could hear them through the front door -- gentle chirrups and scufflings as they vied for meals. Sometimes I would just stand with my ear to the door and listen to their movements, wondering what they were doing and wishing that they wouldn't be quite so frightened of us.
But I know it's good that they're frightened. And I know they have to fly away. I'm just delighted that we had this chance to watch them hatch and mature. It was hard to believe that those ugly little hatchlings would ever be able to fly. Truly, we have an amazing Creator!
Incidentally, today also marks my 100th blog post. What an eventful day!