17 July 2020
This month a pair of song sparrows is nesting in a hanging basket above Bob Donnan’s deck in southwestern Pennsylvania. Bob wanted to see them better without disturbing them, so he set up a nest camera and is publishing YouTube videos of their activity. This week the babies grew a lot.
Bob’s 12 July 2020 video opens with both parents feeding four nestlings. Only about three days old, the nestlings are featherless and their eyes are closed. After the feeding ‘papa’ bird leaves while ‘mama’ remains to tidy the nest. She picks up something that looks like a worm and eats it — a fecal sac from one of her nestlings.
Later we hear ‘papa’ sparrow singing in the background while ‘mama’ shelters her young and appears to pant. It’s hot. Bob has been trying to provide extra shade because the sparrows’ air traffic has made the flowers droop. (Click here or on the screenshot at top to see the 12 July video.)
Song sparrows babies mature so fast that they leave the nest at only 10 days old, even earlier in the heat of summer.
The nest on Bob’s deck will be empty soon. You have to look quickly to see song sparrow babies at the nest.
p.s. Bob has a great selection of “how to” landscaping videos on his Bobscaping YouTube channel.
Follow-up videos: (18 July) Junior! Get Back in the Nest!
(screenshots from videos by Bob Donnan; click on the images to see the videos)