Live Webcam of House Finch Bird Nest

So in late May/2008, I noticed a small bird building a nest on top of a rain gutter on the NE corner of my house. Since there is power nearby and it's under an overhanging roof eve, I was able to install a webcam for a ... uhhhh ... bird's eye view! ;-). People enjoyed watching this and commented on the grass blog - so here's a summary of the house finch saga ... even more finch pictures/video here. BTW, several people have asked about purchasing prints of these images - more info on that here.

The Birdcam is over (scroll down for sad ending) ... but you can continue to watch grass grow on the live webcam!
***** The House Finches came back in 2010 and built a nest in a wreath on our front door - nifty pics/video here *****

***** They came back yet again in 2011 and built their nest in the same wreath - nifty pics/video here *****

Five day old Baby Finches

baby finches

First baby finch hatched on May 25th, 2008 - four more to go (one didn't make it)

finch nest

Mama Bird removing an egg remnant - watch time-lapse video

bird egg 1

Checking to see if any eggs left in the nest

bird egg 3

A quick look at the baby chicks - they are squirming quite a bit - note webcam

webcam nest

First webcam image of two baby finches clamoring for Momma's attention & food

baby finches

Proud parents share a private moment - more examples: 1 and 2

mom and dad finch

And then Dad flys off to get more food

dad finch fly

First image of all four hungry finches!

four hungry finches

Lets take a picture with a Canon 40D DSLR with 10-22mm wide-angle lens

finch

May 30th - Baby Finch Chicks are less than a week old

baby finches

Poppa Finch seems to be saying "How did I get signed up for this?!?"

finch 31b

But being a good Dad, he brings an early lunch to the baby finches

finch 31c

Mom isn't mad at Dad - she's fanning the baby chicks - watch video

finch 31f

Dad looks on as Mom kinda wonders how she got signed up for this too ... ;-)

finch 31g

And the baby finches start clamoring the next morning - another image

finch baby dad

Poppa Finch flys the coop!

finch flys

But then is scolded by Momma for not helping out with feeding - video of lunchtime

finch flash

The whole Finch family that evening ... and guess what ... chicks are hungry again!

all finches

Sunset pictures with a gentle flash - first time I've seen the eyes opened

finch night

Webcam picks up the flash as a red glow

finch flash

Momma Finch trying to restore order in the nest - smackdown video!

finch flash

Don't mess with stern looking Momma! A birder said Momma was nest cleaning.

finch flash

But Dad is a good sport and feeds 'em lunch - watch the zoomed-in time-lapse video

finch feeding 1

Taking close-up pictures of the sleeping baby finches - time-lapse video

finch sleeping camera

Some people say they are sooo cute ... some people say yikes! ;-)

finch sleeping

Typical baby finch breakfast behavior when Mom and/or Dad show up

finch breakfast

First sign of feathers from a baby finch

finch feathers

They were just fed a couple of hours ago!

finch baby want to be fed

OK - who wants to be fed first?!?

finch feeding

Mom and Dad seem to be having a heated discussion here - related picture

finch argue

Mom cleans out the nest again - watch time-lapse video

clean out finch nest

Colorful closeup of Pappa Finch feeding all four chicks - another one

finch argue

Cooler weather means snuggling for warmth - video of wake up for food and then back to sleep!

finch sleeping

Finch chicks are getting bigger and even more ansy for food when parents show up

finch feeding 1

Finch Chick spreads its wings - second time I've seen this

finch wings spread

Open wide and here comes dinner - - they want second helpings!

finch feeding 2a

The Early Bird gets the Worm - Webcam's low-lux mode helps in pre-dawn light

finch early bird 1

Mom and Dad interacting - watch the video as they seem to be arguing?

finch interaction

Look at this wing spread - won't be long before they start trying to fly ... to survive!

finch wing spread

VERY BAD SAD NEWS. So I was puzzled why I haven't seen all four of the babies since the afternoon of June 5th. Only three of them were popping up for Mom and Dad Finch when they stopped by with food. And then it seemed only two. I did my once/day check of the nest, and while it's hard to tell how many are there when they are sleeping, it was obvious when only ONE was left. My initial thoughts is they were flying the coop. However, the webcam got a snapshot of the culprit ... and then I realized what was happening. Yea, I know this is nature ... but still darn sad.

Four baby finches - note timestamp - 7 minutes left for one of them

four finches 7 minutes

First baby finch is grabbed by the Blue Jay

baby killer first one

Now only three finches show up for Mom

three finches

Only three (sleeping) finches left at 10:42AM on June 6th - 34 minutes left for one of 'em

three baby finches

The webcam didn't get an image of the Blue Jay grabbing the second baby finch, but I'm 99% certain that happened at 11:16AM on June 6th. The Blue Jay then returned a couple of hours later to grab the third baby finch. While there are only these two frames in the archival images, I happened to be watching this on the real-time video feed and the Blue Jay just grabs a chick and flys off - all happens very quickly.

finch baby killer 1

finch baby killer 2

So now we are down to one baby finch - picture taken at 2:24PM on June 6th - note unhatched egg

one baby finch

I appreciate all the nice notes of condolence I've received - yes, nature can be cruel and unforgiving, but I had grown fond of those little baby finches. I didn't know what to do at this point and figured it was just a matter of time before the Blue Jay returned and grabbed the last baby finch. HOWEVER, the last Finch Chick actually jumped/flew off the nest ... with lots of encouragement from Mom & Dad. Ironically, my wife was watching in real-time and called me on the phone - "the baby jumped off the nest - go check on it now!" - so you'll see me pop up in the webcam very quickly of the video footage. I confirmed the baby was gone ... but turned out he was about 20 feet away on the rocks - looking fairly chipper as seen below. Not only were Mom & Dad Finch around, but many others (extended family?) who were all making a lot of noise. I went inside to grab some gloves to put him back in the nest (in hindsight, I should have just watched from a distance), and when I came out, the baby was gone. Based on the racket in a nearby dense tree, I think he may have made it in there ... and I'd like to believe at least one of the baby finches made it!

Fascinating time-lapse video of parents interacting with baby and then first flight

baby finch jump

Picture taken a few minutes later about 20 feet from the finch nest

baby finch

baby finch

There were at a bunch of birds raising holy heck this whole time on the nearby tree

concerned finch 1

concerned finch 2

Not sure if this is Momma Finch ... but certainly looks concerned

concerned finch mom

Remember that there were 5 eggs originally, but only 4 finch chicks ... so one did not hatch. Guess who came back to grab that egg for breakfast the next morning? Yep, Mr. Blue Jay - as seen in this video of his 9-second visit. There's also video footage that add in visits from the Finch parents before/after - they stopped coming after this.

blue jay 1

blue jay 1

Things got real quiet after that as the nest was basically abandoned

bee in finch nest

It was darn sad to see things end this way as I had grown fond of the House Finches (especially the babies) and enjoyed watching 'em hatch & grow, with lots of work from Mom & Dad. However, mother nature can be cruel (especially if you are lower on the food chain) and I'm sure the Blue Jay chicks needed to eat. Hopefully, some birds will return next year and we can again watch nesting, hatching, and feeding ... but no predation this time perhaps.


June 16th Update: So I was hanging out on our back deck this evening ... and all of a sudden, the normal noise of the birds going "chirp, chirp, chirp" became much louder and piercing. My wife (who has much better eyes than me) came out as she also wondered what the heck was up. Then we saw a Blue Jay come flying out of a nearby tree. Damn, the Baby-Finch Killer had struck again. But Wait! The racket continued at a feverish pitch ... and then we saw a larger bird (with something in its talons) being chased by ... two Blue Jays. My wife believes it was some sort of small Hawk was flying off with a baby Blue Jay! Once again, this is nature (which can be cruel) ... and a graphic example of why it's good to be on top of the food chain! ;-)




Even more Finch pictures & video. ... plus summary of the Blue Jay encounter.