Baby Bird Distractions

Pandemic fatigue. Winter doldrums. Whatever it was, I don’t know, but I decided a little over a month ago to let down my guard against new inhabitants just once, quit being the Grim Reaper during every week’s cleaning, and see what happened. What happened was inevitable, although I wasn’t too sure how it was going to go. I don’t think the birds knew either, but they quickly remembered how to take care of their offspring.

I was reflecting one morning last month after cleaning the night before that there were no cries of anguish which normally followed the typical Grim Reaper inspections: “I don’t know if it’s worth having a veritable second flock of baby birds just as a goodwill gesture, but for the moment, in the scheme of this incredibly senseless life we all seem to be participating in, knowingly or not, I don’t see any grave harm in it. I live here alone with these birds. I am fully aware of the consequences of adding to the flock, but I was also making a conscious decision that I didn’t want all the finches to just die away in a few years and leave me alone with the girl doves, not that I don’t love part of that idea – less work, less noise, less everything. But maybe it is in response to the idea that there would be less to do – which is inevitable anyway, the older I get – that I decided to let the Zebra Finches have one last fling with immortality. I can live forever too, vicariously, through their efforts.”

It started with one fledgling youngster around the end of January, and maybe almost a week later, there was another, and two became three, then four, then five – and now there are eight. I will resume Grim Reaper duties this weekend so anyone who hasn’t hatched, sadly, gets tossed, but I am happy to have these youngsters to watch grow up and glad they have each other’s company. They are a lot smarter as a group. They are not all from the same clutch but I’m not sure if the clutch number was 2 or 3. Indeed the first bird might have been a “solo finch” were it not for the fledglings that followed later.

I managed to capture a fledgling being fed in the video below.

It turns out the first bird is a male and he is already starting to break out into adult plumage. I was able to record a teentsy bit of his subsong activity yesterday morning (see video below). Please pardon our mess. We are almost done tearing up what is left of two-year-old newspaper.

Below is a little gallery of images from the cell phone.

Outside, the snow persists. Below, a few images with the cell phone, starting with my back steps one morning and ending with ever-persistent Common Milkweed seeds.

Shoveling snow off my car…

And below the way the walk between my house and my neighbor’s before and after shoveling.

When I go into work once or twice a week and get off the train, there’s ice in the river.

One morning on my way to the train I could not resist taking a picture of the sunrise, even obscured by all the houses.

Back indoors with a few more bird scenes…

The Diamond Doves like to sit in the sprouting “soak” seed on top of the microwave.
The Society Finches love trapping a corn kernel under one foot to extract the insides.
The irrepressible Mr. Green.

We have yet more snow in the forecast, but we are starting to warm up so maybe it’s only another week or two before it disappears. I have heard birds singing outdoors: Northern Cardinal, House Finch, Black-capped Chickadee. Spring is coming. The angle of light intensifies and the days are getting longer. My birds told me sunrise was at 6:25 this morning. They were only two minutes early.

11 thoughts on “Baby Bird Distractions

    • I was thinking that to some extent it’s always spring inside the house. But maybe this would be their normal breeding season…in Australia? I love watching the kids become independent and learn how to do things. Then the songs take years to develop. That part fascinates me. I get to witness their creative process. 🙂

  1. How cheery they are! Do they go in cages at night? And how do you keep the poop cleaned up? I see you cover your furniture so you can wash those. I am amazed, sorry for questions! I always thought an avian room would be cool to have.

    • Oh Donna – don’t try this at home!! Seriously, if I could have kept playing music for wild birds outside my apartment window, none of this would have happened. It’s not something to take lightly. You can’t be too much of a neatnik; yet I spend probably 6 hours a week total cleaning the two rooms the birds spend most of their time in. I use large sheets of newsprint under the cages. The birds sleep in their huts and some in the cages. Someday I will write “Living in the Aviary” and go into a lot more detail. It is the closest thing to living with wild birds. 🙂

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