On my front porch there is a bird house, and a pair of house sparrows lives there. They lived here before I did, so I felt in some ways they had more of a claim to this property than me, and have made every effort to make them feel comfortable and safe. My posslq didn’t think they would stay once we moved in, since they are literally 3 feet from the front door and nearly at eye-level, but we have formed a mutual respect and consideration that has allowed us both to live side by side in harmony. I leave out birdseed and tasty treats a few feet from their house, and chase away the jays or other birds that bully them, and they provide my cat with endless hours of entertainment whenever he decides to watch ‘Cat TV’ aka. ‘sit in the window’.
Since the spring this year, they have been keeping busy making baby sparrows. The first batch they had 3 babies, 2 girls and a boy, and this was in early early spring. We got a kick out of listening to their tiny peeping on hatch day, and listened to them grow up until they were old enough to emerge from the nest. After they could fly, they stayed close, and turned our 2-sparrow family into a 5 sparrow family. A month or so later we heard more peeps and were surprised to learn a 2nd batch of babies had been born. These, too, grew up quickly, and joined the flock. Our 5 sparrows turned into 8.
At this point, the sparrow population at my bird feeder far outweighed the other birds. Feeding times were a blur of grey-brown feathers, and watching them hop around in their own family flock continued to be the highlight of my cat’s mornings.
Recently, we heard the familiar newborn peeps indicating a new batch of babies was born. This is the third time this season!! I don’t know much about bird breeding trends, but it seems like that poor bird mama must be tired by now!
The other day we were outside building the chicken coop and it was a good 90 degrees out, and much worse in the sun. I went to go in the house for a break and saw a small pink shape on the ground. It was a baby sparrow! The tiny 2-day-old thing had fallen from the nest and was laying helpless and naked with closed eyes in the grass.
That little bird was extremely fortunate that she fell at that moment or we might have missed her, and doubly fortunate that my laser vision is finely tuned to hone into animals in distress. She was still energetically crawling around, which I’m sure was the reason she fell out of the nest to begin with. We immediately went into rescue mode, and we threw whatever stuff we had in our hands down, and I gently picked her up and placed her in the palm of my hand as my posslq ran into the house to get a paper towel and a chair so we could reach the nest to put her back.
Upon inspection she seemed unhurt, but a nasty ant was crawling on her and trying to bite her. Luckily it was a small sugar ant and way too tiny to do any damage, so I plunked the ant off and tossed it away.
This whole time my hand was shaking like a leaf because she was soooo so tiny and frail, and I was terrified I’d accidentally smoosh her, or she’d flop off my hand. Through all of this she was rambunctiously squirming around and bobbling her little head around opening her mouth asking for food. She was the smallest, lightest living bird I’d ever held, and it was both amazing and horrifying!
After a final inspection, we put the chair in front of the bird house and I climbed on it, intending to put her back in the nest. Unfortunately I was too short to get a good angle to safely place her in, but I got a glimpse of three more babies inside, bringing the population up to 12. Oh and mama bird had been chillin’ with her peeps, and flew nervously out past my head as I opened the top.
My posslq and I switched places, and I passed the baby sparrow to him, who he then placed very gingerly into the nest. The next few hours we kept a very close eye on the nest to make sure she didn’t 1. fall out again, or 2. get rejected by her mama.
Luckily the mama seems to have accepted her back and (I suspect) is even a little grateful for rescuing her baby sparrow. It is now a few days later and the chick has neither fallen, nor been pushed out of the nest again, and we still hear strong chirping, so we’re pretty confident the rescue was a success.
I did not get a picture of the baby because we were so focused on getting her back in the nest as quickly and easily as possible, but I did find this image online of someone else’s newborn sparrow, so I’m re-posting it here to share what a baby sparrow at around 2 days old looks like. This is a near spitting image of the little one we helped – good luck to you baby and hope to see you flying about soon! 🙂