House Finches build yet another Nest on my front door in 2023

In late May/2008, some house finches nested in my rain gutter ... so I installed a webcam to take some nifty pictures and video of it. The House Finches returned in 2010 ... but this time, they built their nest in a wreath on my front door and I saw five of 'em hatch, grow, and then fledge. They nested again in 2011 - but Mom disappeared 4 days after laying 4 eggs - maybe a Cooper's Hawk got her. There was no nesting birds for over a decade ... but they came back in 2023 ... so these could be great-great-great grand-kid finches!

I use the front door to get the paper, etc. ... and had seen a bird fly off a few times when I opened the door ... but didn't see any sign of a nest ... plus after 15+ years, the wreath is looked pretty ragged, so I figured the birds have given up nesting there. After being gone over the July 4th weekend, my first time leaving the front door was the evening of July 5th ... and as I opened the door and stepped out, Momma bird literally brushed my forehead as she flew away from the nest ... and BOOM, there it was ... with an egg in it! ;-)

As before, access to the door is "blocked" and we are using the back door to go in/out of the house ... all part of minimizing disruptions to Momma. She laid 4 eggs this time from July 5-8th ... and the first one hatched on July 19th with the others in the next 24 hours.

Super Sad ending - all four babies hatched ... but in the next week before fledging, all perished probably due to Avian Pox.

Example video - note only three babies are feeding here ... as fourth is no longer moving ... :-(

July 5th, 2023: iPhone picture of the first egg

house finch one egg

July 6th-8th: Momma Finch laid three more eggs the next three days

house finch multiple eggs

Needless to say, I setup the webcam to provide 7x24 coverage! ;-)

house finch house setup

house finch webcam setup

house finch webcam view me

house finch blocker

I'll mostly post videos showing the bird "action"

ANOTHER pair of Finches show up on the wreath - I only saw this once - real-time footage

Hatching was at 1:15PM & 3:15PM on 7/19 and AM'ish & 4:00PM on 7/20

Here's two sequences showing the difference between the Webcam and Canon 7DM2

Now that they are hatched, Momma Bird is MUCH busier!

Real-time video of Mom cleaning up poop - extended version shows her feeding it back to the babies! ;-)

July 24th, 2023: There is a runt in the litter of 4 baby birds who unfortunately didn't make it. In the first video below, you can see them on the left side of the nest "panting" ... and barely makes a move to get food when the Mom comes by. In the second video, you only see 3 baby birds going for good - the 4th has been displaced/buried to the bottom of the nest. I confirmed the next day it was gone, but was not able to find in the footage when the parents removed it.

It's been very hot, so even though the nest is in the shade, Momma has been doing a lot of this

momma house finch closeup

Looking at the door, it's pretty difficult to see the Momma on the nest

momma house finch nest from outside 2

momma house finch nest from outside

July 26th, 2023: Bad news ... as a baby bird fell out of the nest - wide-angle view here

I didn't notice this until I got home about 3 hours later ... and saw the baby moving around on the ground outside the front door. I grabbed some gloves and very carefully put 'em back in the nest. He was a bit lethergic for the first couple of hours ... but that evening and next day was as active as the other.

Double Bad news is one of the baby birds passed away - close-in view of Momma removing

This happened EIGHT minutes after the baby fell out of the nest. When I looked at the previous time-lapse footage, it was clearing that this baby was in bad shape as it was lethargic (didn't compete for food), panting, and eventually stopped moving. So two have passed away and two are left.

Removing the third baby bird to perish - my guess is from Avian Pox

Here's how the sad saga unfolded the last couple of days. I had a tooth extracted on July 26th and got home at 2:32PM. Entering in via the garage (which never seems to bother the birds), shortly after that I went to check my laptop by the front door (which controls the Canon camera via a USB cable snaked under the door) ... and on the other side of the glass, saw a baby bird squirming on the ground!

I got some gloves and very carefully put it back in the nest ... but as I did that, there was a "WTF moment" as there was only ONE baby bird in the nest ... there should be TWO with me putting another back in. I saw some "stuff" from the wreath on the ground ... so I'm thinking maybe a Blue Jay did show up. Reviewing the footage, here's what happened.

At 10:54AM (I left the house at 10:28), baby bird #2 FELL OUT of the nest - it's kinda funny to watch as it just got too feisty ... and even though Mom put a foot on it, it keeps squirming around and goes over the side - the microphone (which has the gain turned way up) picks up the sound of impact. That's the one I "rescued" at 2:45PM. It was a bit lethargic for the first couple of hours, but then perked up with feeding ... and soon I could not tell which bird was which - LOL I could have put a drop of paint on their forehead to keep track of it! ;-)

The reason there was only ONE bird in the nest was because at 11:02AM, baby bird #3 was REMOVED from the nest by Mom. Looking at the earlier footage, it has gotten increasing lethargic (wasn't competing for food), I could see it "panting" ... and then it just stopped moving. So Momma did the right thing ... and later that afternoon, I realize in the "pile of wreath stuff" was that baby - Mom must have dropped it as she departed the nest.

At that point, two baby birds have perished ... so my theory was maybe they are getting some sort of Bird Flu - Covid! ;-)

Good news is the evening of the 26th and during the day of the 27th, both remaining birds seems fairly active.

BAD news is the morning of the 28th just before heading out for a walk, I took a quick look at the real-time feed and said "ummm ... one doesn't seem to be moving" ... which after returning, was confirmed in the time-lapses. So at 9:45AM, I put gloves back on and removed it from the nest. Figured that was the best thing to do since Mom had struggled with the earlier one that was smaller. I have no idea if this was the bird that had fallen out or not.

MORE BAD news is when looking at the time-lapses, I noticed that the LAST bird was lethargic (it moved much less than expected when I removed the one at 9:45AM) ... i.e. this was unfortunately the similar "path" the others had taken. After waiting several hours, the time-lapse clearly showed it too had stopped moving.

Mom had come back to the nest at 10:00AM ... and stayed there until 11:45 ... doing lots of "digging" in the nest ... but no response from the baby. Dad came back briefly a minute after that, then Mom at 12:03 for a minute ... and then NO visits after that the rest of the day - i.e. they had give up hope. I removed the last dead baby at 7:30AM on July 29th - the Mom came by for a few seconds at 9:52, but no other visits that day.

While it was nice to get our front door back, I would have much preferred to work-around it for another week to see those four baby birds fledge.

July 30th, 2023: Momma and Poppa Bird haven't returned to the nest in over 24 hours, so taking it down

house finch nest takedown

Some misc. observations from spending a lot of time watching these House Finches: