The birds are coming along nicely. Two sets of Zebra Finch parents are busy feeding their young and fighting over some cotton I placed in the aviary last night, because apparently it's the latest craze in nesting material. It's been so funny watching the two male finches play "mid-air" tug of war, in an effort to secure more cotton. We watched the aviary last night for well over an hour and it's rather like having a live episode of "Animal Planet" right in our own house.
The parents are very generous in letting me take baby portraits and haven't pecked my eyes out yet. I would estimate we probably have, out of two nests, at least seven hatchlings which are probably about ten days old. They still look scrawny but have more than doubled in size and in another ten days, Mom and Dad will be conducting flight lessons and pushing them out of the nest. It is a fascinating and beautiful thing to watch.
Someone in this house cautioned me about breathing on the birds, given the sorry state of my health right now.
Give me a break! I've raised two human babies and while they didn't turn out to be the "Gap Kids" (always dressed in a white tucked-in Oxford shirts and smartly pressed khaki pants) I'd envisioned, they do the holey t-shirt, multi-colored hair thing pretty well and, I'll admit the tattoos took a little getting used to. I am grateful they were tattoos of a nice little bird and an Irish-inspired shamrock - something I hope their father (Hi Tim!) takes into consideration when he sees them for the first time - Justin, in particular, is keeping his 18th birthday "shamrock" tattoo a big secret until after he receives his graduation (fingers crossed!) presents.
On second thought, maybe I have no business parenting these finches. I guess I could eventually propose a "Finch fledgling" column. I don't know though, I'd hate to compromise the finches anonymity the way I have my kids. Every now and then, something will happen to Katie and/or Justin, and they will look up at me in mock horror and say, "For the love of everything holy, please don't let what just happened here wind up in a newspaper column!" When this happens, I look at them empathetically and run right to the nearest computer so that I can describe the situation in all it's gory detail, before it slips my mind. And then I wonder why they cop an attitude with me sometimes or talk in hushed tones when I enter a room.