It happened last night on my own front porch. I was slapped across the cheek by an angry female! I felt insulted and was red faced. But, I admit it, I was caught in the act and I’m guilty. [Warning! There are a lot of exclamation points in what you are about to read!]
I’ll start at the beginning. It was early evening, raining, and the June air was balmy. I put on my pink-polka-dot wellies and went outside to garden. This is my favorite time to pull the weeds out of the moist earth, deadhead the flowers and observe the verdant garden while a soft rain kisses my hair. I also like to take my ferns down from their hangers on the front porch and let them drink the rain like the rest of the garden.
As I climbed on my stool and grabbed the hook of the fern basket to bring it down— WHOPP! SLAP! WHAT JUST HAPPENED HERE?
I disturbed Mrs. Birdie’s nest and she was mad! Her wing slapped my left check as she flew off in a rage.
I placed the basket on the ground and found her nest with three light blue eggs. Then I was upset. Will she come back? I’ve heard that if you move or disturb a bird’s nest the mother will not return. I ran to get my camera and, still shaking, I took some photos of the nest. I carefully returned the fern to its hanger, hoping Mother Finch would return to the place she left.
I don’t know why, but I worried about this all night. I woke up this morning and even before my coffee, I went to the porch and stepped up on the stool to check on the eggs. WHOOSH!!! Mrs. Finch flew away again (this time without slapping me). Why do I have to be so curious? Why can’t I just leave this little family alone!?
At that moment, my neighbor Melanie walked by. I explained what happened, worrying that I scared off mother bird.
Melanie, the voice of reason, said: “Was the bird grayish with some red streaks?
“Uh huh,” I said anxiously.
“Oh, those are House Finches. I’ve been a grandmother to many of them. One year they built a nest in my Christmas wreath, that’s why it was still on my door in March. Contrary to what people think, they don’t have a keen sense of smell and will not be offended by your intrusion. She will be back and will lay more eggs. The father bird will even come back when the eggs hatch.”
I couldn’t help myself so I looked in the nest and there were now four eggs!
“Wow! I said, “She laid another egg since last night! How can these big eggs come out of such a small bird?”
Melanie replied, “They probably say the same about us.”
I looked up House Finches in my bird book and learned more about them. This species was only recently introduced to the Eastern United States in 1940. They are gregarious feeders and songbirds. So, that is who is waking me in the morning.
Once, two small blue birds perched above our door. My mom said that meant good luck to our home. She was right.