Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
So we’re in a new house, time for new adventures. This latest is having a family of birds build a nest in a potted plant located on our back porch. It was pretty cool watching these birds build their nest, lay eggs, then raise the youngsters.
Alas, it all happened too fast. But it was fun watching them while it lasted.
Bird’s Nest In An Unlikely Spot
We’ve been continuing to organize this house since moving in last December. With the cold weather, and me being generally grumpy about cold weather, we left outside stuff until temps warmed up. Meanwhile, Winnie had her prize potted plants scattered wherever in the house she could store them. Staring in late March, she started moving them outdoors. Cautiously. Given the outside temperatures were still flaky.
Our back kitchen door opens into a sort-of mud room space, leading to the outside via a screen door. The screen door opens onto a small covered deck/porch, which in turn accesses our back yard down a short flight of wood steps. Coming out of the house through the screen door, on the left, there’s a built-in open cabinet with shelves. Rather handy, although it does tend to get cluttered.
Winnie put several of her smaller potted plants on top of this cabinet, including one modest succulent that looked flopped over. Several days after she put it out, I noticed what looked like an accumulation of leaves and grass in the plant. Since the plant had thorns, I left it alone. Then I noticed the accumulation of leaves and grasses getting larger and more organized.
I realized those leaves and grasses were a small birds nest. Right there in the plant on our porch.
Watching the Family Grow
A few days later Winnie pointed me to look inside the nest. There were four tiny white and brown spotted eggs there. Then she showed me a picture of the four eggs. She had taken them out of the nest and put them on our outside table to take the pictures. Then replaced the eggs back in the nest. I gently scolded Winnie, telling her the parents would most likely abandon the nest now. Winnie told me that would be fine, as wild bird eggs were very tasty.
To my surprise, the bird parents did not abandon their nest.
They did seem skittish with us for the first couple of weeks. Every time one of us would come in or out through the back door, a bird would noisily fly out of the nest squawking loudly. I would hang out and watch, and sure enough after a few minutes the bird would fly back inside the nest. After a few days it seemed the parent birds got used to us being around, as they ignored us. Or maybe because they were busy with other chores.
Several days later I observed the two birds flying back and forth to the nest with “stuff” in their beaks. I cautiously looked inside the nest, when the parents were gone, and could see four tiny baby chicks inside.
After another few days I started to hear the chicks clicking and squawking pretty nearly constantly. The two parents were flying back and forth pretty regular now, obviously carrying food for their babies.
Then, the chicks got large enough they were sticking their heads out of the nest, mouths wide open, waiting for their next meal. At times they got pretty noisy about wanting to be fed.
Flown the Nest
This past Saturday I came out on the back porch and didn’t hear the chicks. Then, I saw a tiny bird perched on a branch near our open garage door. I made an astute guess this was one of the chicks, trying out their wings for the first time.
The bird appeared lost in it’s great big new world, and promptly flew inside the garage. I went in, chased it around for a bit and managed to gently catch it, after it stuck itself in a corner. Carefully holding it in my cupped hands, I brought it into the house to show Winnie, and the bird escaped. I had to chase it down again, inside the house. Fortunately, the whole flying around thing appeared pretty new and the bird didn’t get very far. I carefully carried it outside and let it down on a rock in the backyard.
This time, the bird seemed to figure out what to do and flew off. Yesterday, I saw another young bird (same one?) skittering around under the porch, appearing lost. Maybe trying to figure out how to find it’s next meal. Then it was gone.
A Happy Ending
So now we have an empty bird nest tucked into a potted house plant on a shelf next to our back door. I’m not sure if these parent birds plan on using the same nest again next year. I guess that nest will just become a permanent part of the potted plant.