My Mom was thrilled a few weeks ago when phoebes built a nest above her porch light. She kept me informed of the progress and today said that the female had left the nest. Awesome...eggs had hatched!
We went over to Mom's for a visit, and we watched the male flit about the yard.
I hadn't noticed them visiting the nest at all, so I walked around to the front porch.
Two babies, on the cement under the nest.
"Mom....MOM! Get a ladder!"
I picked them up....one was ice cold and still. One was barely moving and also cold.
Oh God. Maybe a day old? Had been laying on cold cement for who knows how long? Okay. Don't panic....warmth. It needs warmth. I cupped it in my hand and started breathing warm air onto the baby. I kept it up while Mom ran for the ladder.
As I was warming the baby with my breath, I noticed tickling and pinching around my lips. I looked at my hands and saw feather mites running about. Great. Feather mites on my mouth.
(there have been a lot of gross things near my lips lately)
Instead of freaking out, I blew my lips like a horse to blow the mites off in between warm breaths to the baby.
I climbed the ladder and looked at the nest. The side had been pulled, like a larger bird had tried to get in. Starlings? Blue Jays?
I felt in the nest...no other babies....but got a few more mites.
I placed the baby back in (and at this point it had warmed up enough to really be moving and had started to peep....thank God)
We vacated the porch and went inside to let the parents get back to the nest. After a few minutes, I wondered if the phoebes were too freaked from the attack to go back.
I will say thank GOD for Julie Zickefoose...I remembered this post, where she helped a fledgling Carolina Wren find its family by using an iPod to call them back.
I grabbed my iPod, complete with BirdJam (Hi, Jay!!!) and did the Eastern Phoebe call.
Both of the parents popped up in the yard. Come on, guys....you have one baby left.
We waited anxiously and quietly in the house, until we observed the female visit the nest several times, until she finally settled in to brood her one remaining baby.
Thank you, Julie...and thank you, BirdJam.
Will Julie be proud of me? :)
(For the record, I washed off the mites.)