There is a sparrow’s nest in the kitchen window, wedged between the glass, the bars, and the blind, which is an old-style roll of slats furled and unfurled with a cord and a lot of effort usually involving a ladder. That’s why the nest is there, we never bother lowering the blind. Mrs Hickory, doing a bit of cleaning the other day, reached up and pulled the nest out, thinking it was just a stray bunch of straw. It was not. It was a functioning nest, with half a dozen day-old chicks, one of them still stuck to a bit of egg by the avian equivalent of the umbilical cord.
What to do? Mrs Hickory picked the chicks up from the floor, rearranged the nest as best she could, put the ones inside the other and stuffed it back where it came from. She then called a council. The general opinion was that the mother sparrow would not want to know now that the nest and the chicks had been handled, but that we should wait and see.
Wait and see we did. That evening a junior member of the council reported seeing the mother go behind the blind, but this was not confirmed. The next day, however, the chicks were still alive, and it was the general, if tentative, opinion of the council that they would already be dead if their mother had abandoned them. The tension mounted throughout the day, as inconclusive sightings were reported, but still absolute, indisputable verification was missing.
It was around six o’clock when reliable members of the council, among them your blogger, observed, from both the kitchen and the garden, that the mother sparrow entered the nest without apparent concern, and fed her brood.
Now we hear their chirping, louder and happier every morning, and see their necks and open mouths as they stretch up to be fed. They are mostly mouth at that stage, and their eyes and skin are almost transparent. They grow up quickly and will leave the nest in about another week or ten days, having survived their peri-natal accident without apparent harm.
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