Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Baby Bird Rescue - House Finch

Where we live, the most common small bird we seem to see is the house finch. The females are brown, while the males have a brilliant red on their heads. Each year, we have numerous families that nest above our back door, in our lanai. And each year that we have them, we find babies - sometimes dead - sometimes alive on our patio. Usually the fall to the concrete kills them, but if they are a bit closer to the fledgling stage, they are able to flutter their wings a bit and cushion the fall, sometimes surviving. It's always heartbreaking to find them, but we usually don't see them this early in the season as the nests are initially very strong. The bird families will reuse the nests so over time, there is a constant stream of eggs and babies and eventually, the nests become weak and damaged and that's when we start to find fallen nestlings. At that point, I shove some cardboard underneath and along the boards to help prevent more accidents.

This year, whatever finch built the first nest did a less than stellar job. Tony found a nestling dead on the ground several days ago and the next day, we found an egg, probably not viable and pushed from the nest. Well, last night, I went outside and happened to look up, only to spot an adorable nestling, probably about a week old, hanging upside down by his leg, which was tangled in the nest. The poor dear...

We managed to cut him free from the nest with scissors and soaked his leg in warm water to help loosen and remove the debris (nest debris and bird poop) that was bound to his little leg. He looked OK, though his back leg kept extending from time to time as a result of hanging there like that. The girls got a treat and got to hold him a bit while his momma watched about a foot above us in our Cedar tree. The baby did very well and was quite calm, even almost falling asleep while waiting as I shoved thick pieces of cardboard under the nest to prevent any more from falling down.

When I went to put him back in the nest, he actually didn't want to leave the safety of the glove and kept turning around and trying to burrow back into the glove. The girls, of course, suggested we could take care of him, but I've tried that as a older child and it's not an easy feat! Birds are amazing, with the feedings every 20 minutes and it's very difficult to teach a bird to feed itself once they are ready to fly. I had taken a deformed bird we had found once to a rehabilitation center and was told their success rate of releasing into the wild was only 60% and was considered high in the field (this was about 15 years ago).

In any case, here are some shots of our little baby house finch. I still see his cute little beady eyes looking at me with such innocence and trust. I really don't doubt there is some kind of intuition or something going on in there with animals and often think how amazing it is when you hear those stories of animals that get separated and walk across states and miles to be with their families - or ones that rescue their owners, etc. I had read on a bird site once that birds will seek out humans for help in very desperate times. I'm not sure I totally believe that, but it's a sweet thought, nonetheless.

Here's our "Little Chirp"...

Heading back up to the nest :) Can you see his little head poking out - too cute!

So now, I will have to leave you with a sweet ode to birdies...
Sweet baby bird so innocent
So beautiful and wise
The future rests within your sights
Hope fills your tiny eyes
Your body warmed by fluffy down
Shields your heart from the rain
Rest softly on the leaves of brown
Your life has much to gain.

Sweet baby bird, your mouth of gold
Speaks highly of your worth
And yet, there’s much you’ve not been told
About our Mother Earth
You’ve, oh, so much to fear, my friend
And yet, each day is new
Therefore, on faith, you shall depend
For faith shall see you through.

Sweet baby bird, go high and free
Soar where you’re meant to soar
Your life is one of destiny
Fortune is at your door
My dear, one day so soon, you’ll grow
And travel from our tree
But, when you reach each new plateau
I pray you’ll think of me.

© 2008 – Jill Eisnaugle’s Poetry Collection


  1. Great post Jen! My kids have the same pajamas, I love Hanna Anderson stuff, it is the best quality. I actually bought their PJs 2 years ago really big so that the would fit them even longer :)
    It is awesome that you are so loving towards wildlife. Your girls are very blessed to have you as a mom.

  2. Thanks, Shauna! I love Hanna, too. Their clothes just last and last & now it's great they are actually having more sales and more organic clothing :) I do that, too - buy big and then we just wear the clothes out...especially with homeschooling, the girls are in their pj's more often that not - LOL! I have a hard time getting them to change, especially with the Hanna's. They are so soft...