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또 하나의 새둥지

 

작년 7월에 현관 문에서 세마리 Finch를 키워서 출가시키고,
금년에는 새 화환을 달었다. 6월초에 화환에 지프레기들이 자꾸 쌓이는게 보여서, 어느 새가 다시 둥지를 지을려는것을 눈치챘다.
새둥지가 생기면 우리는 한없이 불편해지기에 일부러 지프레기를 며칠간 치웠고 이제는 여기 오지 않겠지 하면서, 더 생각하지 않고 잊어먹어 버렸다. 그런데....


어느날 갑자기, 우리집 현관 입구의 같은 화환의 왼쪽 밑에 새 둥지의 모습을 다시 발견했다.


들여다 보니 이미 5개의 새알이 보인다. 보통 하루에 하나씩 낳는데 5일이 지난것 같지 않었다. 보통 마른 풀줄기를 쓰는데, 이번에는 푸른 살아있는 풀 줄기를 꺽어서 가져다가 집을 진것을 보니 어미새가 무척 급했었던 모양이다. 이젠 할수없이 그냥 두어야 될것같다. 한참동안 새 할애비 노릇하게 생겼다.


몰래 가까이 찍은 근접 사진. 이때는 6월 중순이였다.
우리는 약 한달간 현관문을 쓰지 않고 Garage로 들낙 거리기로 작정했다.
몇번 손자, 손녀에게 새둥지를 보여주었고 손님들이 가끔 모른채 현관으로 들어왔지만, 대개는 조용히 내버려 두었다. 금년이 두번째니 큰 호기심은 없었다. 그저 무사히 부화시켜 출가하기를 바랬다.


6월 말경, 어미새가 들락거리며 알을 품은지 얼마되지 않어 부화된 모습. 금방 부화된 새끼들은 죽은듯이 꼼짝않고 있고, 털이 섞여서 몇마리 인지 알수없다. 하나의 새 부리가 보일뿐이다. 이번에는 약 10일후쯤후에 부화되었다. 그동안 날씨가 유난히 더워서 더 빨리 부회되었는지 모른다. 이번에는 어미새를 못봤는데 분명히 House Finch일거다. 작년의 그 어미일가?


다시 얼마후에 마지막 사진을 찍었다. 자세히 보면 다섯마리 처럼 보인다. 어미새가 왔을때만 입을 벌리고 법석대지만 주위에 이상한 물체가 접근하면 (나의 Camera), 죽은채하면서 꼼짝하지 않는다. 만일 이들이 조금 더 크면 둥지에서 튀어 나갈우려가 있기에 더 이상 접근하지 않었다. 이들은 급속도로 크며 약 10일후에는 하나씩 둥지에서 떠난다.
7월 중순에 들여다 보니 빈둥지만 남아있었다. 이때쯤에, 집옆의 큰 소나무에서 유난히 새들의 짹짹 거리는 소리가 들렸는데 아마 이들 가족인 모양이다. 좀 섭섭했던 할애비가 문에 붙은 새똥을 치우고 화환도 깨끗이 닥으면서, "에이, 고약한 넘들, 고맙단 얘기 한마디도 없이...." 그러나 푸른 하늘에 나르는 5마리의 어린 새들을 생각하면, 그런대로 흐믓하다. 

Photo and Story by Steven Kim - July 16, 2013




Summer Time - Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin



아래는 작년(2012)에 일어났던 얘기....


A Finch's Nest nest at the front door

(Continued from the previous webpage #5769 of August 3, 2012)

On July 9th, 2012, my wife noticed an some extra twigs bulging out at the right lower corner.



July 9, 2012: She took a closer look and found one small bluish egg in a newly built bird nest.
The nest was built with dried grass, dead tree twigs, and dried iris leaves in the yard.



July 10, 2012: We found two small eggs in the nest. No mother bird was seen.



July 11, 2012: Now there are three eggs. We noticed a small bird flying out in the morning.
But it seemed that the nest stayed empty most of the day.



July 12, 2012, there were four eggs. The eggs seemed to have been rotated around
because the dots on the eggs seemed to have been changed to different places on the eggs.
One egg was much smaller than the other three.

From July 13, 2012, we noticed that there is a small bird in the nest even during the day.
On July 15, 2012, while the mother bird was out, I took a peek and there were only four eggs and no more.
We have completely stopped using the front door.
Because of the location of the door, there was no way I could take the picture of the mother bird in the nest.
I decided to wait until the eggs hatch. I am studying a way to take pictures of the baby birds without disturbing them.

I have not been able to identify the bird. I am sure that she's not a robin by the size.
It could be a small finch or a similar bird. (Above from the earlier webpage)

July 18, 2012: The mother bird seems to stay in the nest almost all the time.
We could see her gray-colored tail protruding out of the nest at times.
I took a last peek on July 18 and took this picture. There were 4 eggs.



July 30, 2012: Since yesterdsay, wife noticed some difference in the nest. Something might have been visible when the mother bird is not in the nest. So, I took a peek again for the first time since July 18th.

When I opened the door from inside, the mother bird flew off but, this time, she didn't go very far.
She just sat at the edge of the roof about 20 feet away.
I took a picture of her. She's a small finch in typical grayish female color.
Most of the finches in our area are red finches with red colored breasts in males.

July 30, 2012: I took a quick peek at the nest. All I could see was two baby birds (by the orange-colored beaks and very fluffy feather balls). There may be another, not visible from my camera angle. Anyway, it was strange that the mother bird stays in the nest all the time, meaning that there may be still one or two unhatched eggs in the nest.
It's been about 21 days from the first egg and 18 days since the last 4th egg was laid in the nest.

What happened to the remaining two eggs?



August 3, 2012: I carefully opened the door white the mother bird was out for hunnting. We have never heard the sound of chicks. I showed the nest to my granddaughter and took a quick picture. It's still hard to tell if there are four babies. I am pretty sure that I can definitely make out three of them. It's hard to tell because of very fluffy feathers all over then. They seemed to have grown up larger filling the entire nest.

According to Mrs. Shin's (신성려) blue birds, our finches may be able to fly off on August 7. But I am not sure.
I will take a peek again in about three days.

August 8, 2012: They are still here at the door !! I took another picture today. This picture could be the last but, in a few days, I might add a picture of an empty nest for the sake of the happy ending. According to those "Blue Birds" of Mrs. Shin Sungryu, it's about time for them to fly off. Just in five days, they look very alert with their eyes wide open. It looks like they are almost ready to get out of their nest.

Their Poops
: I don't know how, but they have their poops at the edge of the nest, just outside where they are sitting. The outside edge of the nest is almost full of their poops (the white and black spots in the picture).

I think there are three babies for sure in this picture, and possibly another one at the back corner. There may be an extra tail (?) but I have not seen the face of the #4 yet.




August 9, 2012: I took a peek and one baby bird immediatel flew off, leaving two in the nest.
These two stay there without making any attempt to fly off.
They were pecking the wooden door off and on. They may be eating (?) the mites on the door.



August 10, 2012: Another one flew off this morning and there's only one left who seemed very restless.
This baby chick is about as big as mother bird but it has "Pin Feathers on the Head".
I could hardly believe they got this big during the short time.



August 10, 2012: This one seems to be afraid of flying but, later in the early afternoon, flew off also.
During the last few days, I have not seen the adult birds coming to the nest at all except hearing a lot of birds' chirping from the nearby trees and bush. Maybe, the mother was trying to call them from the trees to bring the babies out of the nest. I waited for a while but none of them came back to the nest again.
The black small dots on the door are "mites" that infest the nest according to the article below.



After the last one left the nest, I looked into the nest. There is still one egg left !!
The mystery was solved. One egg was never hatched. I guess it was the smallest one among the original four eggs.

From small eggs to these big baby birds... Life is amazing !!

Summertime, and the Living is easy...

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky

Adiós, Vaya con Dios....
Goodbye, God be with you....


Comparison to the bird literatures in the Internet:

Nesting Habits

Although bird watchers may see the male with nesting material, the female builds the actual nest. The nest is cup shaped and made of twigs, grasses, and leaves. These finches will nest in a variety of artificial and natural cavites such as old woodpecker holes, hanging plants, and occasionally birdhouses. The nest is located 5 to 10 feet above ground.

The female lays 2 to 6 bluish with fine speckling eggs. Incubation is done by the female for 12 to 14 days and the young will leave the nest in about 11 to 19 days after hatching.

During the incubation time and for about five days after the young have hatched, the male, will feed the female on the nest. He does this by regurgitating seed into the females mouth. The female regurgitates the food to the nestlings.

After the young have fledged, the parents continue to feed the young. The female may find a new mate and raise another brood while the male continues to feed the young. House finches have been known to raise more than two broods in a season.


Breeding

During courtship, the male will touch bills with the female. He may then present the female with choice bits of food, and if she mimics the behavior of a hungry chick, he may actually feed her. The male also feeds the female during the breeding and incubation of both eggs and young, and the male is the primary feeder of the fledgelings (who can be differentiated from the females by the pin feathers remaining on their heads).

The female lays clutches of eggs from February through August, two or more broods per year with 2 to 6 eggs per brood, most commonly 4 or 5. The egg laying usually takes place in the morning, at the rate of one egg per day. The eggs are a pale bluish green with few black spots and a smooth, somewhat glossy surface.

In response to mite infestation, the mother finch may lay one gender of egg first, which increases the chances of the young finches' survival.

The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days. Shortly after hatching, she removes the empty eggshells from the nest. The hatchlings are pink with closed eyes and tufts of fluffy down.

The female always feeds the young, and the male usually joins in.
The young are silent for the first seven or eight days, and subsequently start peeping during feedings.
Initially, the mother carries fecal sacs out of the nest, but when the young become older, she no longer carries them all away, allowing droppings to accumulate around the edge of the nest.

Before flying, the young often climb into adjacent plants, and usually fledge at about 11 to 19 days after hatching. Dandelion seeds are among the preferred seeds fed to the young.
House Finches are aggressive enough to drive other birds away from places such as feeders.

Whatever in this article seems to be true with what happened at my house.

The first egg: 7-09-2012
One egg daily for four days: 7-12-2012.
Probably the incubation started here or next day or two (7-13 or 14-2012).
The first two hatchings: about 7-29-2012 or earlier (7-28-2012)
The incubation lasted about 13-14 days.
The fledging of the babies started on 8-09-2012 and all flew off on 8-10-2012.
It seemed that they left the nest in about 12-13 days after hatching.

Photo and Story by S. Steven Kim - August 2012
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