Let's put a little more light on the subject:
Aha! It's a branch with a nest in it! And the nest contained an egg!
On Tuesday, I was pruning the "miniature" (I didn't think miniatures were supposed to get so huge!) lilac bush in front of our house. I noticed this little nest which appeared to have been abandoned. At least I wasn't getting scolded by any birds as I was pruning, so I had no qualms about lopping off that branch. Courtney was thrilled with the nest, and she saved it to show her cousins who were coming that afternoon with Grandma H to pick her up.
Another reason I didn't feel bad about taking down the nest was that I was quite sure the nest belonged to a chipping sparrow, as they seem to build nests in that bush every year... but the egg looked like that of a cowbird. Remember this one from last year? Yep, it apparently happened again.
So Courtney and her cousins (you'll be seeing them here next week!) took the nest and egg (minus the branch) to Grandma H's. They told me the next day that somehow (I'm not quite sure on the details) the egg got broken open... and there was a baby bird inside! I was surprised at that. But I still didn't feel too bad, 'cause I'm still sure it was a cowbird. And I still think the nest had been abandoned.
Poor little chipping sparrows. They work so hard, and that's what they get for their labors.
P.S. Did you notice my hibiscus plant(s) in the background of the first photo? I had cut it back and repotted it this spring, and it's just now beginning to bloom again. I may get some pics of the flowers as more come on. Or maybe you've seen enough hibiscus flowers on this blog. ;)