Bookmark and Share

Birds in the Lamp

Audrey Pavia, Urban Farm Contributing Editor

Monday, May 3, 2010

Photo by Audrey Pavia

Enterprising house finches made a nest in our antique hurricane lamp.

This morning was typical. I dragged myself out of bed to get ready for work, bleary-eyed from staying up too late watching episodes of Dexter (trying to get caught up since my husband Randy and I just discovered the series after 4 years — where have we been?). I fed all the critters — a 20-minute ritual — and then sat down to eat something. As I sat at the kitchen table in a stupor, listening to the toaster oven timer ticking away, something outside the window caught my eye.

A bird. Close to the house.

It flew to the slatted patio cover and then vanished. Where did it go, and what was it doing on the patio? Nothing there but some stuff hanging: windchimes and a couple of bells and old lanterns we picked up at antique stores. The bird feeders were in the front yard, where Foxy the Urban Barn Cat rarely goes. So why the avian interest in the patio?
I don’t do caffeine (doctor’s orders), so my morning stupor continued for awhile as I munched on my breakfast. While swallowing my last bite, I saw it again out of the corner of my eye — a bird.
Okay, something was going on. When you see a bird come back to the same place twice in a matter of minutes, there’s a reason. I went outside.
It was a female House Finch, a little brown bird native to Southern California but seen everywhere in the U.S. The boys are a bit more colorful than the girls. Their brown bodies are adorned with a red head and neck.
Lady Finch was hanging on the side of an old, cream-colored iron hurricane lamp we had picked up somewhere. When she saw me, she flew off. I then noticed twigs poking out of the bottom. Seems Lady Finch was building a nest inside the lamp.
The lamp’s ornate ironwork didn’t leave any spaces big enough for a bird to enter on the sides. I walked all around it as it swayed in the breeze. How did she get in there? Then I noticed that the bottom—where the twigs were poking out—had a hole in it big enough to fit a small candle. Seems that is where the female finch — and no doubt her mate — were getting in and out of the lamp.
I stood underneath it and looked up, wondering several things: Once the nest was built on top of the hole in the lamp, how would the birds get in and out? How would they stay dry in the torrential El Nino downpours we have been getting with such a “holey” roof to their home? And most importantly, how would the baby birds stay inside a nest that was built over a hole?
The answers to these questions remain to be seen. You can be sure I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Finch Family as they tackle life in a hurricane lamp.

Read more of City Stock »

Give us your opinion on Birds in the Lamp.
Submit Comment »
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 8/17/2013 7:48:43 AM

About the Blogger

Audrey Pavia Blogger

Audrey Pavia

Keeping farm animals in the city can be a real hoot. Follow freelance writer Audrey Pavia's adventures in Southern California with a yard full of urban livestock, including horses, chickens, a Corgi and an urban barn cat. She somehow manages all these silly critters while working full-time, with no one to help her but her husband, Randy, a born-and-raised New Yorker. And you thought "The Simple Life" was out there?


Related Articles


Top Products
Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.

Would you like to receive Farmer in the City Newsletters?X Close Window
Please provide us with your email address in order to access this valuable sustainable-living content.
Fields marked with an asterisk * are required.
* Are you at least 13 years old?
* First Name:
* Last Name:
* Email:
* City:
* State/Province:
* Enter the code shown:

  Yes, I would like to get valuable information from UrbanFarmOnline.com.
In order to opt-out of our newsletters, you can click on the "unsubscribe" link in the bottom of the newsletter.
  Yes, I would like to get valuable information from UrbanFarmOnline.com partners.