Speckled Eggs

Pittosporum with Nest

Pittosporum with Nest

When I climbed the brick patio steps of a potential client last week I startled a little brown bird. She hopped along my path, then the low wall and finally flew away toward the garden.

I started a project at the same home this week, and again spotted the bird. This time she flew from the low branches of a potted Pittosporum. The jangling of keys in the door must have startled her. She flew out like a shot, surprising us both. When it happened a third time, I knew their had to be a nest.

With my camera in hand, and mama bird elsewhere, I peered into the dense leaves. Nothing.

Assuming I’d imagined the whole thing, I took one last look and there it was: a tiny, hair-lined nest and five speckled eggs.  Goosebumps!

Bird's Nest Closeup Bird's Nest with eggs

Much like Sarah The Gardener, and her ‘stolen’ chic, I’ve found myself feeling responsible for the tiny eggs.  Will mama bird continue to visit the nest with these frequent interruptions?  Is this the first time she made her home there, or does she come back every year?  I want to be sure to notify the movers so they don’t accidentally jostle the nest.  It’s a mere arm’s length from the front door, protected from the elements but not from the sudden jolt of a box of dishes or the end of a couch.

I’ve searched the web for ways to identify the eggs, and possible gestation, but it’s been tricky.  I think I’ve narrowed it down, but hope to get one more look at mama bird tomorrow to help me decide.

Any guesses?

Update: My friend Sheila forwarded the photos to Larry Jordan of The Birders Report to see if he could help. Larry quickly identified the probable bird as a Dark-eyed Junco.

Related Articles:

House Finch (native to the Bay Area)

Los Gatos Birdwatcher Partners

If you’re as fascinated with nests as I am, this site is for you.  Larry has an extensive photo library of bird eggs and nests with guidelines for identifying (without ever disturbing) the mama-bird and her clutch.

Bird’s Nest Webcams:

Bolsa Chica Nest Cam

Phoebe Allans Nest Cam

22 thoughts on “Speckled Eggs

    • Wow, Sheila, what a cool site. Thanks so much for sharing. I looked at every single nest. Fascinating. I love the little dome nests (so sweet) and the hilarious places some of them build. The hood of the sweatshirt hanging on the line is my favorite.

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  1. Hi Alys, your friend Sheila contacted me with your photos. I’m pretty certain that this is a Dark-eyed Junco nest and eggs. Dark-eyed Juncos come in several forms but the most typical in California is the “Oregon” form. You can check a photo of it here.

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  2. How fabulous! I hope they’ll be okay, I know how I worry about the swallows nest above our door. Fingers crossed and as you say, she may have had a nest there before and won’t be the slightest bit bothered! (And I’ve just read Eko’s comment, he can be a very naughty puppy dog sometimes!)

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  3. Just lovely, really really lovely. My heart skipped a beat peaking into her gorgeous nest. The hair she used to line it looks just like ‘Buddy hair’. Nature is so beautiful in the least expected places. I’m so glad you found it there and can give everyone a heads up, good thinking to look Alys. I Pinned a momma California Tern off one of your links, she’s covering her baby chicks under her wing……it almost makes me cry it’s so awesome. I hope she’ll be ok there and doesn’t abandon her nest.

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    • Thanks, Boomdee! I thought of Buddy too. The owner also has an aging black lab, so I feel certain the center of this nest comes from her. How perfect!

      She is the sweetest dog. She almost purrs when you scratch her. Just lovely.

      That was a great link. I’ll have to go see your pin. xox

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      • Awwww, what’s their doggies name? I’d be working there forever because I’d never get anything done. I visit a site called The Lonely Dogs. Kathryn has a knack for catching the most endearing photo’s of her dogs, I’m just in love with them all. I’m sure it’s a ton of work, but a dog can really take the sting out of a long day xox PS, thanks for thinking of Buddy, you’re a sweetheart xo

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  4. Pingback: D.J. and the Speckles | gardeningnirvana

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