Every year, sparrows nest in our bird box. We watch the mother and father fly in and out, building the nest. We hear the chicks when they are born and see the parents feeding them. When the nest is empty, sometimes we watch the chicks in the trees as they learn to fly.
As I was sitting in the garden, a few days after observing this chick in the tree, one of the chicks flew into the house. I followed it in and opened doors and windows to entice it out.
Shortly after the mother entered the house looking for her baby. Her distinctive clicking cheep sounded desperate as she tried to get the chick to respond to her.
After some time the mother left. We thought we saw the parents flying around with the chick outside. I could still hear the chick’s squeaky chirp, but assumed it was coming for the garden. We left the house, as we needed to go out. Some hours later, on our return the children came running, saying the chick was still flying around inside the house. It settled on a high window ledge and we could see the parents flying around outside and frantically calling. I opened windows and doors again and the mother came in and out, searching and calling. The baby flew to above the front door but didn’t work out how to get down.
Eventually, after hours inside the house, the bird flew to the ground and hopped outside to be reunited with his parents.
A few weeks later, the girls were playing football in the garden and discovered a nest near a rock, shaded by fern. Inside were 3 tiny eggs. A few days passed and the girls ran in to tell me the eggs had hatched. We watched them for the next few days. Sometimes the mother sat on them and sometimes they were left while she searched for food. She was never far away and a number of times we saw her swoop down to scare off an inquisitive baby bunny.
We watched as the strange bald creatures with huge eyes grew into fluffy chicks.
Then one morning my daughter ran to tell me to come and look at the nest. The nest had been pulled from its hiding place and was on the lawn. The birds were nowhere to be seen. Had an animal discovered them, or was it time to fly the nest?
We soon discovered the latter was true. Carefully camouflaged by brown leaves, one of the chicks was hopping around the ground and waiting for the parents to come and feed it. We could hear the other chicks too but we think perhaps they had gone into next door’s garden as we couldn’t see them.
After 24 hours the chick had gone, probably learning to fly. We heard them for a few days and then no more as they moved on to discover the world.
I love that we have learned so much about birds simply from sitting in the garden on a summer day.