Yesterday, while trimming the pretty-ish sort of wilderness that grows ’round the side of our house, Jeremy and I accidentally upset a nest of four teeny-tiny naked baby thrushes. The first we found still in the nest, which was hanging quite precariously in the canopy of tangling vines which we were disengaging from a bush.
We stopped, of course, once it had been spotted. After I had run indoors to grab the camera, though, we found one more on the ground, then another…and another…we piled them back into their nest (which was still rather lopsided) and, after searching to be sure we hadn’t missed any, decided to call it a day.
I went back out later to find all four back on the ground, the nest tilted sideways, and a very flustered mother bird flapping and chirping in the branches around it. I bent down to pick up the first, and froze when Mama Bird flew down to a branch eye level with me, and stared.
So I e-v-e-r-so-slowly reached for the second one, and she hopped about, scolding (and, I can only imagine, warning) me in thrush-speak, while I watched her out of one eye and picked up the third.
She then flew to a branch not eighteen inches from my head, with harsh chirps that were practically barks, and I thought to myself, I’m going to end up scarred, or worse–without an eye. And I wondered how damaging a thrush attack might actually be. I picked up the fourth and, after transferring them into one hand, used the other to right the nest securely. The baby birds were put home, one, two, three and four, cramming into the tiny nest and sitting on each other’s heads. I retreated as quickly as I could (for Mother was still nearby and, though she hadn’t attacked yet, certainly didn’t sound any happier.)
I checked back twice in the next hour to find all five (mother and children) safe at home, and (even after a violent storm or two during the night) when I looked out the window this morning, four babies in the nest with Mother serving breakfast.
Came home last night to find three babies on the ground again, and the fourth nowhere to be found. So I scooped them up and took them inside, showing them pitifully to Jeremy.
“They fell out again?” He said. “I had to put them back in when I got home a couple of hours ago. I could only find three.”
I wandered about the house debating whether or not to try and keep them inside, deciding in the end that I really did not have the means to keep them (I imagined toting them to work, and waking in the middle of the might to make sure they weren’t hungry.) I also had no heat lamp.
So I tramped back out to the nest (smallish thing that it is) and put the three remaining babies inside.
This time Mother and Father were nearby.
Because I was paranoid that the parents were pushing them out of the nest, I went up to our second story bathroom to watch out the window.
And Mother Bird flew to the highest branch and (I swear!) looked right at me.
I crouched down in the bathtub (which is directly underneath the window), waited a couple of minutes before s-l-o-w-l-y peeking just over the edge of the window pane.
I saw the mother (or father?) going to check out the nest, and as she (or he) came to the side of it, one baby bird went tumbling down out of the branches and onto the ground. I’m sure they all have head damage by now.
I flew out of the house and to the nest, really beyond frustration at this point. (I had had it with putting the baby birds back into the stupid nest.) I rescued (again!) the little one from the ground, checking to make sure there were no others, and looked up to the nest to see one baby bird bottom hanging over the edge.
Evidently the nest was damaged–or too small–but in all cases simply unable to hold four (now three) fat-bellied baby birds, and I assumed that is why they kept ending up on the ground. Holding fallen baby bird # 1 in my hand (I shall call him Eggbert) I searched the house for something larger to put the nest in. I settled on a cell phone box padded with packing paper.
With box and Eggbert in tow I pulled baby bird #2 (whose backside was still sticking out–I will call him Dilbert) from the nest, much to the horror of Parent Bird, who shrieked and screamed at me (and who I told, under no uncertain terms, to shut up.) Baby bird #3 went from nest to box as well.
With all three children secure I finally dislodged the nest, turning to place it in the box. As I knelt to do so, #3 (I will call him Stanley) stood up and threw his mouth open, a bright yellow crocus in the mass of fuzzy grey baby bird bodies.
Babies in nest and nest in box, the box went into the tree, and I used the wirey, tangling, winding nature of the branches to hold it upright and secure. I then went up to my window (making sure I did not make myself obvious to Parent Bird) and watched as said parent investigated the new home and the babies inside, then set about feeding the lot (much to the delight of Stanley, I am sure.)
All I can say is that they were still there this morning.