Finding a Bird's Nest with Eggs

Removing and relocating plants are just some of the day-to-day activities of most gardeners. And I'm certainly no stranger to these tasks. But when I decided to finally remove the unwieldy vine (Thunbergia mysorensis), I was in for a surprise. Tucked underneath the thick foliage of branches and leaves of the mature vine was a bird's nest that had eggs in it!

For a moment when I saw the clump of hay, leaves and grass clippings, I assumed it was a huge nest for hornets or ants. I was almost prepared to be inundated with swarms of insects. When I sensed no such untoward activity, I peered through the foliage and found the nest to have a hollow depression.

It's a bird's nest! Looking further inside, there were two bird eggs! I was pleasantly surprised. This was akin to when I discovered honeycombs with bees in our garden.

Here's how the nest looked like when it was hidden underneath the thick foliage of the vine. The photo shows much of the vine has been cut out.

Taking Down the Bird's Nest

I still couldn't quite believe what I saw and so I set down my pruning shears and carefully pulled out the bird's nest to show it to DH and the kids. And they too were delighted at my find.

Here's the bird's nest with the 2 eggs inside. The nest wasn't just hay, dried grass and twigs. Inside, the nest was a bit more compact and had bird feathers. There appeared some kind of coating inside that cushioned the bird eggs.

Then I realized there has been a buzz of bird activity at the vine recently. I'd see birds just diving towards the vine and then several may be seen perching near that area of the garden. I didn't put much thought on it though. I thought it was just normal because birds would feed on bits of cooked rice grains on the garden grass. Sometimes there would be some rice grains when I throw dishwashing water on the lawn.

Also, as we have plenty of plants, you'd see birds picking nesting materials for a nest somewhere. But I didn't realize the nest would be right there in the garden.

Eggs of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Immediately, the question was, what kind of bird would build a nest there? I was almost 100% sure that it was a common bird in our area and that's the Eurasion Tree sparrow.

from wikipedia, here's a photo of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow

In the Philippines, where it is known as maya, the Tree Sparrow is the most common bird in the cities. Many urban Filipinos confuse it with the former national bird of the Philippines (the Philippine Eagle since 1995), the Black-headed Munia, also called Maya.

The untidy nest is composed of hay, grass, wool or other material and lined with feathers, which improve the thermal insulation. A complete nest consists of three layers; base, lining and dome. The typical clutch is five or six eggs (rarely more than four in Malaysia), white to pale grey and heavily marked with spots, small blotches, or speckling; they are 20 x 14 mm (0.8 x 0.6 in) in size and weigh 2.1 g (0.08 oz), of which 7% is shell.

And that describes the nest and the eggs that I found.

Meanwhile, overhead, an adult sparrow perches near the roof. The photo below was taken from where the nest was located.

Is that adult bird the mother sparrow?

What to do with the Bird's Nest?

With my vine removal operations suspended, I had to decide what to do with the bird nest and the eggs. Throw them? Cook them? Feed them to the dog? DH suggested to return the nest to the vine.

If I gave it back to the "owners", I better not touch the eggs nor even ruffle the nest, otherwise it might look "intruded". I can't put it back as is because much of the foliage has been cut away and the nest would appear too exposed.

So I searched for a carton (an old cake box, actually) to house the bird nest - just like a birdhouse. I put the nest inside the carton and put it back in its original place with the hopes that the adult birds may come back for the eggs.

Abandoned Bird Nest

In over a month, I didn't see any bird activity occuring at the vine nor at the carton. Did the adult sparrows abandon the eggs? Did the eggs hatch and the hatchlings somehow flew away? Did the hatchlings fall on the ground? Died in the nest? Did lizards or some other small animals eat them? What?

After a month, I was hesitant to look inside the nest, but I took out the eggs just the same. Here's me with the two eggs on my palm.

They seem hollow and empty. One of them even cracked and had a hole. Were the eggs ALREADY in this state when i saw them a month ago? Anyway, i could only conclude that the adult sparrows were no longer interested.

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