House Finches – from Eggs to Flight

A close friend of mine has been documenting on FaceBook about a pair of House Finches who built a nest in one of her hanging plants.  My friend Hazel lives in the Minneapolis area and she has agreed to let me share her photos with everyone.

In my years of breeding pet birds, I have watched this happen many times, but I have never before been able to see the full progression in wild birds.

The House Finches knew she was looking in – sometimes she held her phone up to the nest and other times she took the plant down to carefully water the plants and take pictures.  They kept an eye on her, and checked on the eggs and/or babies when she was finished though.

This all started on May 22nd this year.  The comments with the pictures are Hazel’s and although I have added a few of my own comments, this is pretty much all from Hazel.

May 22 -1 (570x800)
May 22 –  A pair of House Finches are building a nest in this hanging plant today.
May 22 -2
 May 22 – Mama finch with her nest building material.

She must have laid her first egg on the 23rd, because on the 24th, there were 2 eggs.

May 23 -1 (600x800)
May 24

Then – there was a problem as Hazel reporting on the 25th.

May 25 - 1 (800x600)

May 25 - 2 (800x680)


May 25 - 4 (600x800)
May 25 – So….the House Finch laid 2 eggs, a Cowbird stole one, then she laid another and a cowbird came back and laid 2 eggs. I removed the cowbird eggs and she is sitting on the two, so might not be more. They all weathered last nights horrible thunder storm.

If this nest had been made completely in the wild, the House Finches would have raised the Cowbird chicks as their own and their own chicks would probably not have survived.  They could have been pushed out of the nest or starved as the larger Cowbird chicks got all the food.  Although it is fascinating to watch a small bird feeding chicks that are larger that itself, I would much rather watch a bird raise it’s own babies.

May 26 - 1
May 26 Have removed 3 cowbird eggs…hope she gets the hint!

At this point, Hazel pretty much left the Finches to incubate the eggs.  One more egg was laid during this time.

June 8 - 1 (600x800)
June 8 – First baby is out and 2nd of the 4 is hatching right now!!
June 8 - 2
June 8 – And we have 2!!!
June 9 - 1
June 9 – ..and then there were 3!
June 11 - 1 (800x600)
June 11 – 3 baby House Finches and 1 egg.
June 11 - 2
June 11 – The baby House Finches Dad. The red is way prettier in person (I mean…in bird). Rainy, dreary day today.

Hazel didn’t post any pictures of our House Finch babies on the 12th, so of course, I asked.

June 12 – They are good, will post a pic tomorrow.  The last egg still hasn’t hatched but she hasn’t removed it so we’ll see what happens. I take the plant down to water it around the nest and momma sits in the tree until I’m done and back to the nest she goes. She trusts me…so that’s good. There are robins nesting and another pair of finches nesting close to our deck…but I’m partial to ours!

June 13 - 1 (800x598)
June 13
June 14 - 1 (800x545)
June 14 – Looking a little more feathery and a little less peach fuzzy. Amazing how much they grow and change in one days time.
June 14 - 2 (800x600)
June 14 – all 3 laying side by side in a row, instead of a pile where you can’t tell where one begins or ends.
June 15 - 1 (800x600)
June 15 – The babies must be comfy because they’ve only appeared to have turned their heads. Won’t be long and they will be moving around more. Happy to be able to take and share these pictures while I can.


June 16 - 1
June 16 – Sitting pretty with more new feathers. 8 & 9 days old
June 17 - 1 (600x800)
June 17 – Today’s pics of the babies since they are growing so fast and won’t be here very long. Their eyes are open. We are enjoying them so much!


June 18 - 1 (600x800)
June 18 – The babies – 2 are 10 days old and 1 is 9 days old. And of course it’s raining.
June 19 - 1 (600x800)
 June 19 – The babies snuggled up on today’s rainy, less humid, cooler day.
June 20 - 1 (600x800)
June 20 – 2 awake and one asleep.
June 20 - 2 (776x800)
June 20 – Sorry… more pic today of all three awake!

I let Hazel know that we would need an apology if she didn’t post pictures, but certainly not for posting more than one in a day.  So, she posted a 2nd  picture for us the next day.

June 21 - 1 (800x728)
June 21 – This little one was just flapping its wings. They are so cute!!
June 22 - 2 (600x800)
June 21
June 22 - 1 (600x800)
June 22 – Won’t be long now. One was standing up flapping its wings and adjusting feathers until dad came with breakfast.
June 23 - 1 (600x800)
June 23
June 23 - 2 (600x800)
June 23 – Good thing I got pics this morning!! They just flew out of the nest into a tree! It startled me, and of course no chance to get a pic! Glad I got to see them fly for the first time!
June 24 - 1 (598x800)
June 24 – Empty Nest Syndrome!


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