The Most Beautiful Door

The Most Beautiful Door
I have a wreath on my front door. It's a grapevine wreath that I filled with hydrangea, berries, leaves and a bow made from my wedding ribbon.  It's a lovely little wreath.

This spring it got a little bit lovelier.  A Finch decided to make her nest in the center of it and laid 5 beautiful little eggs.  If I'm completely honest, I wasn't completely thrilled about it... my anxiety sky rocketed.  There was this beautiful little family with their home on a dangling circle of sticks, affixed to my storm door by nothing more than a wreath-hanger.  And that door has to open every day for the mail.  Foresight and strategy are perhaps not the finches best assets.  (I have a feeling the term "bird brain" was created for a reason.)

Our Beautiful Nest But nevertheless, there they were - mama and eggs.  My husband and I stopped using the front door as much as we could, and I let the mailman know they were there so he could be careful.  Our peephole looked right into the nest itself so we checked it every day and saw the mama diligently keeping her eggs warm.

Then this past Friday, something really magical happened.  The papa showed up.  We'd never seen him before (or hadn't realized it, if we had).  But there was this little boy finch next to the mama, with his red head showing, looking down on the tiny little eggs.  (I suppose it could have just been her "man-friend" but I choose to believe it's the papa.)  And within an hour, the first little wormy looking baby had appeared!!

Bird on nest
Mama Finch Keeping Her Babies Warm
If you've never seen a baby bird, they are not particularly adorable when they're born.  They are mostly just fuzz and skin with a little pointy beak stuck to one end, like an afterthought.  But in God's infinite wisdom, He made us attracted to things that are little and helpless and squishy (which is a good thing because babies require a heck of a lot of work!).

Soon after, the rest of the five had appeared.  We watched like spies through the tiny peephole as mama finch fed each and every one of them and then puffed out her feathers and settled in to keep them warm.  They had become our secondary pets.  And, as silly as it sounds, we loved them.

But yesterday, something terrible happened.  I don't know exactly how.  I had been out most of the day and came home in the late afternoon. When I glanced out the peephole to check on them, the whole scene was wrong.  The nest, usually front and center on the wreath, was rocked to the side.  One baby was hanging precariously on the leaves. The rest were out of sight.

I ran downstairs, out the back door, and around the townhouses with my heart pounding.  When I got there, I found the one barely clinging to the wreath, and two more that had fallen all the way to my front door mat.  The other two babies were just gone.

With tears streaming down my face, I scooped up the baby on the wreath before he fell and pulled the nest down.  I placed him in it, and then knelt to check on the other two.  Both were moving, but one didn't seem in good condition.  I placed them all back in the nest to keep each other warm.  (FYI, it is a fallacy that if you touch a baby bird, the mother won't return.  That said, please don't go out scooping up birds in nests.).   

My husband had just returned home, and being the good and gentle man that he is, joined me in trying to make sure we could secure them.  There was no guarantee that the mom and dad would return, but it was even less likely if we changed the location of the nest.  We brought out wire and reattached the nest to the wreath, as firmly as we could.  With the nest and wreath in the way, there was no chance of attaching the bottom of the wreath to the door with a nail or hook, but we wanted to make sure it didn't move again.  Our only solution was Gaffers Tape (if you're not familiar with it, it's wide, black, cotton tape that's very strong).  We set to work taping parts of the grapevine to the glass of the storm door, hoping that that would ensure less movement on the wreath.  And then we left the babies, praying that the mom and dad would return.

It was an excruciating wait.  My husband and I took turns glancing as surreptitiously as possible out
The Two Babies That Remain
of the front window and peephole.  The little fuzzy bodies weren't moving much.  I can't tell you how much I prayed over them (I don't care how ridiculous that makes me sound - I love animals).  Then, almost a full hour later, an amazing thing happened.  Out on our railing was the little red-headed papa finch.  He checked in on the nest and then flew back to the trees.  A few minutes later, the mama appeared. 

I don't know what birds think or feel.  But my heart still aches for this little tiny creature who lost her babies.  I was afraid she would come back to the nest and abandon them when she found what remained.  But instead, she rearranged them as best she could, gave them all the food she had, and then puffed herself up and stayed with them to keep them warm.  Two of them have responded beautifully.  I don't think the third one made it.

I don't know if the remaining two will survive - it's possible that, if they were attacked by an animal or bird, it might come back. It's possible, they'll fall when learning to fly or if someone dropping off fliers swings the door open carelessly.  It's possible that any number of things could go wrong between now and when they spread their wings to make their own lives.  But I'd like to think we've given them a second chance.

This morning, when I glanced out, I saw that the mama was off finding food.  I quietly opened our door to look through the glass of the storm door at the babies that remain.  I laughed out loud at the sight.  The babies were snug in their nest, safe.  And my beautiful wreath now has wires sticking out in odd directions, and huge sections of black gaff tape are glued to various parts of the window.  But glued with them is a little bit of hope for a tiny feathery family.  It's the most beautiful door I think I've ever seen. 

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