House Finch Happenings

The House Finch pair are back. I’m so excited.

Not the best photo, but here they are together on the curtain rail

The female of the pair started a nest on our deck last month. You can catch up here. Mama finch had been building the nest for a while before we noticed. Once we noticed, she disappeared. I’ve since learned that house finches build several nests before deciding where to lay their eggs.

Friday morning, I looked out the kitchen window, and there she was. She had a mouthful of tree twig, which she deposited on the nest before immediately taking flight. Her red-breasted mate remained close. Together they flew to our Magnolia, then back to the neighbor’s tree for more twigs.

Mated pair of house finches in the Magnolia

I captured a few photos from a safe distance, not wanting to disturb the process. Eventually, I had to head downtown.

They’re singing to each other in the afternoons, so I’m hopeful this is a good sign that they’ll stay. If not, it has still been a pleasure watching this simple act play out.

Male House Finch, the object of her affection
A well-protected nest on top of the stacked curtains
Closeup shows how cleverly she’s hidden her nest

In other potential nesting news, I finally saw a bit of stuffing pulled from my squirrel offering cushion. I somewhat belatedly realized that a bird might also dip down for some fluff so I’ve moved the nesting material to the nearby orange tree instead.

I nervously watched a hummingbird either teasing Tessa or warning her off. Tessa likes lounging under the patio table A hummingbird flew from a nearby shrub, dipped toward her, and then flew away. I held my breath through that transaction.

Tessa lounging under the table

Life in the back garden is a balancing act. Squirrels and birds visit by day. At night we see opossums and the occasional raccoon. The kitties come in at dusk and stay inside until 8 or 9 in the morning. At 18, Lindy spends most of her time at rest. Mouse, the cat, is overweight, despite our best efforts, so he’s not much of a threat. I worry about Tessa, though. I want to keep all the garden visitors safe.

Two-Faced Tessa in the Garden

Tessa came to live with us in the most round-about way. She stowed her wee self into the battery compartment of Mike’s Tessla. We’ll never know how she got there, and it was a production getting her out, but after that ordeal, she was here to stay. We were not in the market for a third cat and certainly not a kitten, but as John Lennon said: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Tessa's portal

Tessa lounging in her kitty portal

Tessa turns three this May.  She’s affectionate when it suits her in the most endearing way. Our sweet tortie climbs on your chest and looks into your eyes, before tucking in her chin and producing a raspy, satisfied purr. We adore her!

Tessa near the rocks

Tessa near the rock wall

Tessa spends her time prowling the compost bin for rats, chasing squirrels and play-fighting with Mouse the Cat, aka, Bubba. He’s more than twice her age and close to double her weight, but they go at it like a pair of kittens.

Tessa in the garden

We call this “the look”

When Tessa first arrived, a steady stream of friends stopped by, intrigued by her unusual markings. Eventually, I created a Two-Faced Tessa The Cat Facebook Page and my son set up an account for her on Instagram as twofacedtessa.  My son attends university several hundred miles away so the updates naturally dwindled, but the pics he posted in the early years are delightful.

Tessa in the fruit tree

Tessa in the fruit tree

I hope her sweet face cheers you as you go about your day.

Tessa in the sun rear view

Tessa on her own terms

Here is a gallery of some of our favorite pics: