Niki and I were out in the courtyard at work yesterday afternoon, on break (which of course we stringently and religiously limit to 15 minutes! Really!) (ed. note: well, not really), and we kept hearing this sharp "chip!" sound. It sounded a little high, almost shriek-like, for a cardinal, so I walked around in the direction of the sound.
Here's what I found:
Little guy was tiny--probably three inches from tip of the beak to his stubby little bottom. He flew a bit at first, afraid of me, but he landed on one of the tables and sat for me.
SO--as it happens, just this morning I read a post on Julie Zickefoose's blog about what she did when she found a little lonely fledgling, peeping for his mother or father to come find him. I then did what she did, pulling out my Walkman BirdJam and playing a Chipping Sparrow's trilly call. I wasn't sure what kind of bird this was--other than sparrow--so I guess chippy because we had some in the courtyard last year too.
So I played the call--no response. I walked around, blasting the chippy trills at full volume. Nothing.
I was worried. Note that I should've realized at this point that maybe it wasn't a chipping sparrow, but it never occurred to me to question my shaky ID. Go figure.
Suddenly, an adult sparrow appeared on the roof at the edge of the courtyard. I looked up.
By now, the cute little baby was chipping away again in his little "mommy help me!" voice.
House sparrow baby? How could you be a house sparrow?!
My loud "Dammit it's a house sparrow!" frightened Daddy HOSP away, but I'm sure he'll come back for Junior. Dammit. I played the house sparrow call for a bit, just in case.
In the meantime, as I walked back to the table where we were snacking (on hummus and fresh carrots and green peppers! And keeping it to fifteen minutes! Really!) (ed. note: yes, the veggies and hummus part is true, but the break has now lasted at least 25 minutes), and there, near the table, is a baby American Robin!
You can't see it in the photo but I love the way their little not-yet-red breasts are colored. Those speckles are so nice; do you suppose they are colored that way so that they mix in with the leaves and the nest better? And will ya look at that stubby little butt?
I love baby birds!
PS--I bet a lot of you recognized that the baby sparrow was a HOSP right off the bat, didn't you?