Birds Feed

The Baby Birds Have Hatched!

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the bird that had made a nest in my friend Kathy's bathroom window.

At least three of the five eggs hatched on June 24, and here you can see the hatchlings and mother, with the father just outside the bathroom window. 

We'd thought the female was a house sparrow, which is technically an invasive species of bird imported from Europe, a common sight in urban areas. HOWEVER, now that the male has shown up, that theory's out the window, so to speak, because he is most definitely not a sparrow.

Just look at that scarlet hue!

Can you identify the type of bird? Since Kathy's in the Pacific Northwest–Seattle's Northgate neighborhood, to be exact–the likely candidates include:

  • Rosy Finch
  • House Finch
  • Scarlet Tanager

What do you think?

My money's on house finch, as the female scarlet tanager is yellow. The house finch, by the way, is "often the only songbird in most urban areas," according to my field guide.

 


A Bird Built a Nest Inside Our Friend's Bathroom Window

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This is my friend Kathy's window. And that is a bird nesting right there. Yes, it's a real bird, not a sculpture.

It started with the nest, which went up the last week of May, when the weather was nice enough for Kathy to crank open the louvered window. It's a lovely nest with a classic cup shape. Kathy lives in Seattle, Washington, which is still rainy and emerald this time of year. The nest was fashioned with a layer of twig in the center cushioned by an impressive gathering of  juicy green fronds around the outside.

Nest

When the pics first popped up on Instagram, I recognized the window from hanging out at Kathy's place in Seattle, Washington (excuse me while I feel a pang of longing for friends, flora, and fauna back in the Pacific Northwest!) This is her main floor bathroom window; I once spent a good amount of time clutching the commode underneath this window when I'd had one-too-many of the tasty Moscow mules Kathy will serve you in a copper mug when you're lucky enough to be a guest in her home. Not my proudest moment, mind you, and those mules are not to blame, but I spent enough time in Kathy's bathroom to recognize it in a photo.

The nest was special enough already, but then one day Kathy noticed an egg.

Oneegg

The next day, another egg appeared, and so on, for a total of five days. They're gorgeous, speckled eggs, blue and brown and white. 

5eggs

Kathy thinks this little uninvited but nonetheless welcome guest fits into the category known as "little brown birds," or LLBs for short. She might be a sparrow - or else a house finch, to get more specific (if you can ID her, please post in the comments below!). The bird comes and goes with no problems. "I haven't heard too much chirping," Kathy says. "She seems to be pretty content to just sit on her eggs."

This is the first time Kathy's ever had a nest in her window. She usually opens it wide, but due to the unseasonably warm weather for Seattle, she had it cracked a bit this time, which seems to have encouraged the mama bird to nest there.

Kathy rigged up a wifi camera to her phone so she could watch the Big Hatching Event even if it happens while she's away visiting friends and family in California.

Incubating

She's shared stills on Instagram and Facebook, and her friends and followers, including me, are obsessed. The Big Hatching Event will likely happen in about two weeks, and then the chicks will mature in the nest for another two weeks. 

Suffice to say, she's kept the window open.

All photos, credit: Kathy Samuelson. 

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