The wildlife rescues just keep coming. Strange how I'm out in the garden about 5 minutes every day lately but there's time enough to find animals in distress. This rescue did not involve downspouts or disassembly or even a creature in apparent distress. In fact it was only chance that I happened upon it.
The house finches have finally built a nest on my porch again. They've done it for years now, raising two broods per annum but since the nest area remained clear until just a week ago, I thought they had given up on me in 2016.
The nest looked a bit weak and the female is extremely skittish, flying away even when I approach the window, so I wanted to get a look at what was going on up there above my head. Was she even sitting on eggs?
So I stood on the porch chair and snapped a blind photo with my phone. (First photo in this post)
Hmm. One of these things is not like the others. Cowbird egg!
After doing some reading about cowbird eggs and chicks, I decided that this egg most likely meant the death of the five house finch chicks. The cowbird chick wouldn't kill them outright, but since it hatches earlier and is much larger it would dominate for its adopted parents' attention, and the other chicks would not likely survive.
This reminded me that I saw Northern Cardinal parents feeding cowbird chicks in past years with no cardinal siblings...
|Cardinal male feeding cowbird chicks, 2014|
...which lead weight to this theory that the other chicks probably would not survive.
So I made a difficult decision...
...and removed the cowbird egg from the nest.
I felt quite guilty about condemning this unhatched chick to death, but to save the other five it was worth it. Besides, Nature itself is quite cruel as I've seen for myself time and time again, so I didn't feel too down about it.
I was concerned for a while that the the mom might not return to the nest, but she was back up there later. Whew.
I did not expect to be making this type of rescue!