Ear: Freddie

Carea Kuhn has four hanging flower pots on her porch, which looks out on her heirloom English garden in Long Beach, Washington.

About three weeks ago, "two days in a row, as I watered, a frantic junco bird flew out of one of the baskets. I looked in and the most perfect nest was nestled inside with little speckled white eggs. Nine days later, they hatched …

"The parents put up with us sitting on our porch and created a perfect ledge inside the basket beside the nest to feed them. They worked together, reassuring each other by making clicking sounds as they coordinated their efforts …

"Freddie was smallest and our obvious favorite. He was a bit slow and it endeared him to us. At 12 days after hatching, the parents literally kicked the kids out of the nest. Three made their way to the side yard as the parents led them with offerings.

"Not Freddie. He was content resting in my flowers, having dad bring him grub. It took him all day to make it the 20 feet to the deepest cinder block in our yard and jump right in.

"… I stressed for hours, his parents stressed, the father kept feeding him and trying to inspire him to hop out. Freddie hopped with all his might, making no progress.

"Finally, I told my husband I was going to move him. His dad was not happy I was carrying him and clicked so loudly at me as I scooped Freddie out and placed him near the others. Dad wasted no time leading Freddie with a mouthful of treats towards the tall grass."

"What a gift we were given, sharing the first moments of this family's life," Carea confessed. "… I hope they continue to come back and enjoy our garden as we watch."

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.