Creation: Janie, the house finch

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Meet Janie, the little house finch whom I’d rescued as a fledgling ten years ago.
Her parents had built a little nest in a planter on the outside wall next to the front door of my townhouse. Mommy laid three eggs, all of which hatched. But after the first two fledglings flew from the nest, little Janie remained, too immature to fly.

I kept a watch on her, peering into the nest every day.

One afternoon, I heard the distressed chatter of birds outside. I dashed out and saw little Janie on the ground, her parents by her side, clearly distressed. Unable to fly, Janie would not last long and would soon be captured by a cat or dog.
So I took her in.

I hand fed Janie a gruel of Kaytee powder formula for baby birds mixed with mango sherbet.

Fledglings I’d rescued in the past would subsist on the gruel for a week, then they naturally graduated to eating seed by themselves. But not Janie. I hand fed her for an entire month!

She is now 10 years 3 months old. In her old age, Janie can no longer fly and regularly flops to the bottom of her “townhouse.” So I placed twigs and tree branches in a zig-zag pattern, from the bottom of the large cage to the top, so she can hop from one to another and so make her way back to the top perch.

When I take her out in my cupped hand, she would give me little love nips with her beak.

Update: On July 9, 2015, little Janie passed. She was 11 years ago.

Haemorhous mexicanus

The house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is a bird in the finch family Fringillidae, which is found in North America. This is a moderately-sized finch. Adult birds are 4.9 to 5.9 in, with an average weight 0.74 oz.

In most cases, adult males’ heads, necks and shoulders are reddish. Male coloration varies in intensity with the seasons and is derived from the berries and fruits in its diet. Adult females have brown upperparts and streaked underparts. Their song is a rapid, cheery warble or a variety of chirps.

Originally only a resident of Mexico and the southwestern United States, they were introduced to eastern North America in the 1940s, then spread across the continent. Today, there are estimated to be anywhere from 267 million to 1.7 billion house finches across North America.

House finches forage on the ground or in vegetation normally. They primarily eat grains, seeds and berries, being voracious consumers of weed seeds such as nettle and dandelion; included are incidental small insects such as aphids.

Nests are made in cavities, including openings in buildings, hanging plants, and other cup-shaped outdoor decorations. Sometimes nests abandoned by other birds are used. Nests may be re-used for subsequent broods or in following years. The nest is built by the female, sometimes in as little as two days. It is well made of twigs and debris, forming a cup shape.

During courtship, the male will touch bills with the female. He may then present the female with choice bits of food, and if she mimics the behavior of a hungry chick, he may actually feed her. The male also feeds the female during the breeding and incubation of both eggs and young, and the male is the primary feeder of the fledglings. Females are typically attracted to the males with the deepest pigment of red to their head.

The female lays clutches of eggs from February through August, two or more broods per year with 2 to 6 eggs per brood, most commonly 4 or 5. The female always feeds the young, and the male usually joins in. Before flying, the young often climb into adjacent plants, and usually fledge at about 11 to 19 days after hatching.

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0 responses to “Creation: Janie, the house finch

  1. I find it amazing that you’ve kept alive this long! She would have perished long ago on her own.

  2. You are truly a good steward of Our Lord’s creatures. Bless You.

  3. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this beautiful post. I remember Janie and how you saved her. It is absolutely remarkable that she is over ten years old. God gave you little Janie as His gift, and you recognized that gift. May God bless you for your kindness and love and give Janie a love from me.

  4. It’s amazing, the joy our little feathered friends can bring us. I sit and watch out the window, my bird feeders, sometimes taking photos to keep track of all the various birds throughout the season. Tons of House Finches, Blue Jays, Flickers and the passer’s through that stop for a bite on their way to who knows where. You are blessed to have this little girl with you for so long. And she’s been blessed to have you be the one to find her. Loving something so small & fragile and caring for it for so long, gives me a pretty cool glimpse into your personality. I like what I see!

  5. Reblogged this on Patriotic Gofer and commented:
    Found this on another blog and thought it worthwhile to pass along to anyone stumbling on my page. A particularly heart warming story for this Sunday morning. Hope you get the warm feelings I got, while reading it.

  6. How sweet!

  7. Thank you, every one, for your kind words. I’m blessed to have precious little Janie in my life!

  8. This heartwarming story just made my day!! Eowyn, you are such a dear and kind soul.

  10. Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

  11. Lovely little bird and heartwarming story.

  12. Wonderful to read. Having worked with animals all my life, it is nice to read something positive.
    Last year, there was a baby Cardinal that was in trouble,and mom and daddy Cardinal were going crazy.,obviously the little guy fell out too soon. Knowing I shouldn’t touch him, I went out with a paper towel and picked him,up and put him in the fork of a tree, not knowing which one he fell from.,I went back inside and a little later I heard the distinctive chirp of an adult Cardinal. Sure enough daddy was on our patio trying to get my attention. I walked out and sure enough baby had fell out again. So again out with the paper towel and out him back. A few minutes later, again with daddy, on the patio trying to get my attention. So this time in tried a different tree. All was quiet, I must have picked the right one this time.
    A couplemof weeks later, I heard the daddy on our patio as close to the door he dared,,trying to get my attention again. I thought after all that time,what could he want. I went outside,and there sitting pretty as you please was daddy with his son. Chirping and singing like crazy. I figured he came to show me the success story and to say goodbye.
    So as with your little Janie, wild birds do have wonderful personalities.
    I have dozens of little Janie’s in our yard.
    We had another story with two baby raccoons,that had lost,their mother. I could write a book about,them and their antics.

  13. Beautiful bird and guardian/rescuer!


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