Finch nest: the 2nd brood

With everything that's been going on here with wildlife (early mantis hatchings, kitten antics) plus all of the regular garden work, I've neglected to keep you up-to-date on the finch nest that is on our front porch.

As you may remember, house finches built a nest here this year, and the five chicks hatched and fledged. The nest was then quickly reused (by the same birds? I don't know) and as you can see above there are only two chicks, and they look like they're ready to leave the nest soon.

Actually, there are three chicks this time around:

I apologize for the quality of some of these photos. It's a difficult location to shoot in, and some of them are lower-resolution stills from my video camera, as I was trying to get some video of the chicks as they took flight.

The next morning I happened to glance out there and saw this chick looking pretty eager:

A couple of seconds later he was jumping and gone!

I saw him flutter to the ground, then flap his way up to the branches of the maple where a small group of finches were waiting for him. It's pretty amazing when you think about it. That chick's entire world just expanded from a 4-inch poop-encrusted nest with a view of a 4' x 6' porch, to an almost limitless space filled with never-before-seen "things" of all shapes and sizes. Plus the colors -- from the mostly-white of the porch ceiling to a dazzling array of greens and browns, the electric blue of the sky, and almost any other color a little bird could imagine. All by just taking that one step out of the nest. How incredible that must be!

That just left the one chick:

No wait, I mean two!

That other one is always hiding! Two mornings later, I heard a lot of chirping coming from the porch so I looked out and saw both of these guys looking ready to take that step too:

Their family was 10 feet away in the maple, offering chirps of encouragement, and occasionally flying through the porch as an example to the chicks.

It didn't matter though -- these two chicks were just not ready to see the rest of the world today.

So instead Dad came in and gave them something to eat.

After "sleeping on it" for a night they must have decided that they were ready, because when I checked late in the morning, the nest was empty. Shoot. At least I got to see the one chick take it's first flight!

I wonder if the nest will be used once more this summer. I kinda hope not, as that thing is going to weigh 20 pounds by the end of the nesting season!

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