An ambitious father house wren came into the screened-in porch on the front of our house this spring through a small hole that a squirrel had made in the screen. He built a nest on top of one of the porch columns, and this nest, unfortunately, was the nest best liked by Mrs. Wren, so they settled in to raise their first brood of the year there.
Four almost-fledged babies popped out of the nest and rambled around the porch over the weekend. Late last night there were only three alive and one sad, still one down on the floor in the corner. The parents were nowhere around, and the remaining three babies were huddled on the cement collar around the middle of the post.
I worried and fretted about them and went to wild bird sites on the Internet for guidance. If all is well, I learned, the mother will be back at sunrise to feed them, and she will continue feeding them every 15-20 minutes throughout the day. I went to bed resolved to wake Jessie early and send her out for worms or maybe to buy mealworms today at the pet store if Mom doesn't show up (shades of the year before last and the blind little sparrow who hatched on the same porch column).
This morning I went out to check on them and they were all in the same place with no Mom in obvious site. When I went over to look at them, two flew away and the third huddled deeper into the corner. I looked at him more closely and one of his wings is either deformed or just not all the way fledged. I hope it's the latter. While I was examining him, Mom flew by the outside of the screen and scolded me so I felt better about their situation and left them be.
Now I sit at my desk starting my day, and I wait for Mom to return to feed them. They have all moved from the column to the porch floor. It's chilly this morning so they are all huddled together for warmth. Maybe the one with the not-right wing fell and the other two flew down to share body heat and hungry cheeps with him.
Mom has been back, but Darwin is proving right. The two more developed fledglings are out-competing the little one for food. I'm afraid he is not going to make it through the day. In the spirit of non-interference interfering, I moved a shred of the nest from the column to the railing by the hole in teh screen and put the littlest bird in it. I figured the nest material would help him conserve body heat--and therefore energy--and putting him by the entry to the porch would make it easier for Mom to feed him. He was quickly joined there by his nest mates who snatched all the food form Mom when she showed up.
Nature is cute, warm and cuddly from afar. Up close, not so much.