This is my third spring/summer in my Texas house. And the third year House Finches have used my porches for their nests. I continue to be amazed by this fascinating journey of love, wonder, hope, despair, grief, miracle, intrigue, and growth.
The pair which had raised five broods on my front porch over the past two years, came back to my porch early spring looking for my hanging baskets. But it was still too early/cold to have summer flowers. Nevertheless, they were eager and swooping my porch daily. With my office at the front of my house, porch activity is within glance. The male Finch began flying against the window. It did not seem possible he would be talking to me! His banging against the window continued day after day. When he stood on the miniscule ledge (the check rail where the top and bottom sashes meet) and pecked at my window, it left no guessing as to his motives. In deafening terms, he shouted at me to hang my baskets on the porch!
I bought dianthus and pansies, stuck them in pots and hung them on the porch. They immediately checked out the best spot to begin construction, yet they were in no rush. They must have realized it was too early. A late winter storm came and blew away their meager efforts at nest building. Eventually, they became serious about creating their home, and raised five little darlings this spring.
By the time the babies had flown, the dianthus and pansies looked very sad. I needed to make my hanging pots look more presentable, hoping they would build another nest. They checked out the new plants, but, sadly, moved on elsewhere. Meanwhile another pair of House Finches (I knew they were not the same couple as this male had much brighter maroon/red on his head and neck) thought my hanging fern on my back patio would be a perfect nursery. They raised three babies there, and lost one as one egg never hatched. Mama removed that egg to the other side of the fern. Another bit of drama involved an interloper. A Cowbird, which does not build its own nest, laid an egg in the Finch family’s nest. The baby hatched, but disappeared a few days later. I had assumed Mama kicked it out. However, House Finches are vegetarians. Cowbirds are not. Perhaps the Cowbird could not survive on vegetation alone.
After that brood, they abandoned the nest, and built another in the second fern hanging on the patio. Three eggs were laid which began hatching a couple of days ago. Yesterday morning, the third egg had a crack, so I checked on it regularly.
After setting up a stepladder, I called my grandson to leave his iPad and watch live action. He took this video. The mama often hovers within sight of the nest and sings to me. My presence does not ruffle her feathers, but she makes her presence known. The next time we checked, the hatchling was fully “born,” and no shell pieces remained. Mama came to sing to us! We told her, “Your babies are precious! We love your babies! You are such a good Mama!”
I remain amazed at the extreme fragility of these teensy creatures — exposed to the elements, yet survive. We have had horrific storms in Texas this spring. One night, I rose to check on the front porch nest during a raging storm with high winds. Mama was nestled on her nest keeping her babies safe.
How can anyone say such tiny miracles happen by chance? There has to be a Master Designer!