Philomath couple’s front door wreath plays host to mama bird, hatchlings

One day a few weeks ago, Matt Lehman walked out of the front door of his Philomath home to get some springtime planting done in the yard. He was immediately greeted by a surprise guest.

“He opened the front door to go out that way and a bird flew near his head from that wreath,” said Lauri Lehman. “He did a little investigation … and he discovered there was a nest in there and she just kept coming back over the course of the next couple of days and just sitting there. That’s when we figured out that she had laid some eggs.”

The bird happened upon the artificial wreath by chance because Lauri had left it up longer than usual. In a typical year, she said she gets a spring wreath to put on the door “and not keep my fall one up there nine months.”

The bird built its nest out of natural materials.

“It’s at the top of the wreath and it just brought its own materials there,” Lauri said. “Since we don’t use that door very often, I think it was easy for her to go ahead and gather materials and make it without us noticing.”

Eggs in the door nest
Taken quickly from a difficult angle, this shot shows four of the five eggs in the nest. (Photo by Lauri Lehman)

With the way the Lehman home is situated on its lot, the couple rarely uses the front door and instead goes in and out of a secondary entryway. Whenever Matt or Lauri do approach the door, mama bird would “jet off” but generally, she stays close.

“It looked like she might be there for a couple of weeks because they sit on their eggs for 10 to 14 days and we kind of kept track of it that way,” Lauri said. “I was so excited that I posted it on Facebook.”

A common question that she received from her Facebook friends was what type of bird was living in her wreath? Not a bird expert, Lauri wasn’t sure but figured it had to be a sparrow.

“We think it’s a little sparrow,” she said. “Someone suggested a wren but the beak doesn’t look like a wren beak, so we think it’s a sparrow.”

Lauri initially thought there were four eggs but she got a better glimpse through her creative photography angles with mama bird out of the nest and discovered a fifth. They all successfully hatched.

“They’re moving around but they’re not peeping or anything,” Lauri said Wednesday. “I don’t know what the timeline on that looks like.”

Bird nest in front door wreath
The nest in the front door wreath appeared earlier this month. (Photo by Lauri Lehman)

Lauri said the birds can use their door as long as needed.

“We’re happy to just avoid that door; we have other doors in the house,” Lauri said. “I think it’s going to be another week or so until they get up and out and about, but I don’t know, I guess I need to Google that and see how long it takes once they’re hatched.”

For now, the Lehmans will let mama and the hatchlings continue to use the front door while keeping a low profile.

“I wish I could have people over to see them and stuff but we just don’t want to scare her,” Lauri said, afraid that the mama might abandon them if there’s too much commotion.


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