Baby House Finch is only slightly aware of his surroundings. Instinct tells him he must get out! Frantically he pecks at the shell imprisoning him. At last he lies back, exhausted. After a short rest, he is at it again. He pecks and pecks for what seems like hours. Suddenly, his prison walls yield a bit. With a supreme burst of effort he strains at the shell. Crack! The confining walls grudgingly release their prisoner.
Wow! So bright out here! As he rests, he feels movement in the eggs surrounding him. Soon he is joined by a brother and then a sister. When all the eggs are hatched, five little House Finches are resting in the nest. After a few hours, they are up exploring their new world.
Baby House Finch becomes aware of a peculiar gnawing in his stomach. He does not know it is called hunger; he only knows he needs food. “Peep! Peep!” he cries. Suddenly, with a fluttering of wings, a parent alights on the edge of the nest in the hanging basket. Baby Finch quickly opens his mouth and shoves his brothers and sisters out of the way. “I was here first, wasn’t I?” His open mouth is rewarded with a juicy worm. Baby Finch swallows hungrily. Mmm! His first meal!
After a few weeks in the nest, Baby Finch is growing more and more independent. He is the biggest of the brood and is a real go-getter. One day, Baby Finch grows hungry. Where could Mama and Papa be? he wonders. I’m hungry! As the minutes pass he becomes more and more annoyed.
Finally, in desperation, he crawls to the edge of the nest and peers over. Whew! The height almost takes his breath away! Hunger forgotten, his curiosity kicks in. He leans farther and farther over the edge of the nest to get a better view. I wonder what that is…Oh, no!
The sickening feeling of falling grips him as he plummets like a stone to the ground below. He tries to flap his undeveloped baby wings, but to no avail. The earth rushes up to meet him…whomp!
Stunned, Baby Finch lies in a huddle. It takes concentration just to think straight. Why is he down here? He begins to slowly and painfully cover ground, headed he knows not where.
What? Why was the ground trembling? Or was it? Yes, distinct footsteps, like an earthquake, were coming closer…closer…closer…. Baby Finch sinks low to the ground in terror. Oh, why did I ever leave the nest?
As Tristan left the house, he was startled to hear a frightened “Peep! Peep!” coming from the ground a few yards away. As he stepped closer to investigate, he was amazed to see a small finch crouching close to the ground.
“Ryan, come here!” he called. “Look what I found!”
“Coming,” I answered. As I joined him, he pointed to the little finch crouching like a statue on the ground. I would have mistaken him for a wood chip had I not known. “Wow! He is so tiny!” I breathed.
“I wonder if he’d let me hold him,” Tristan said. Moving slowly, so as not to frighten it, he soon had the little bird in his hand. I, too, took a turn holding it.
“Hey, Ryan, could you bring the camera?” he questioned. “We just have to get a picture of him!”
“Sure,” I said, and ran for the house.
“Hey, Mom,” I cried as I entered, “we have the cutest little bird out there. May I get the camera?”
“Go ahead,” she said. “I’ll go out and look at it awhile.”
When I returned with the camera, Mom was saying, “You know, I wonder if this bird doesn’t belong in that finch nest in the hanging basket. I have recently been watching the parents flying in and out, and I was suspicious they had babies. This probably confirms it.”
After snapping a few pictures, we got a chair to stand on and peered into the nest. Sure enough, four other little finches stared back at us suspiciously. After setting the little adventurer with his brothers and sisters, we quietly left, amazed at what we had just seen.
The footsteps were coming closer. Suddenly they stopped right above him! A person was standing there looking down at him. He yelled some gibberish, and someone else came running. Now there were two people!
Suddenly, Baby Finch was swept off the ground and cradled in the person’s hands. Baby Finch didn’t care that he was the center of attention; he just wanted to be let go!
After a while, and a lot of conversation from the people, he was lifted up toward the hanging basket he called home. Wonder of wonders, those hands gently set him in the nest with his brothers and sisters! Then all was quiet.
Suddenly, Mama alighted on the edge of the nest with a worm. After feeding it to Baby Finch, she flew away. With his stomach full, and his body warm, Baby Finch curled up and went to sleep. What an adventure!