Yesterday was very windy with lots of rain, and when I got home I found a bird's nest in the front yard. Upon further inspection, I also discovered two little nestlings nearby, seemingly uninjured but helpless and near the street. I figured there was nothing I could do and left them alone. This morning they were still there, and when I came home this evening, they were still there chirping away, though one had wandered into the yard a little. I came inside for a few minutes and noticed a mother bird was feeding one of them. I read on Snopes that it is, in fact, okay to handle most birds (to an extent) and that the best thing to do with nestlings is to put them back in their nest and let the mother bird do her thing.
So I went back outside, but them both in the nest, and moved the nest a little further into the yard away from street. This worked great, and from inside I could see the mother feeding both of them. I knew that my dad was planning to come over tomorrow evening before I get home and work on some unfinished trim, so I called him to warn him not to park in the front yard because of the birds. Then he (and my mother) started talking about all the neighborhood cats and how the little birds would surely be eaten if we didn't get them off the ground. So they convinced me to let my dad come over with an old birdhouse, nail it to the tree they fell out of, and put the birds in it (nest and all). We did this and left the top off so the mother should be able to hear and see the birds. The way it's positioned, a cat would have to work pretty hard to get to them.
The problem is, the mother bird doesn't seem to be able to find the babies now. She was right under them a minute ago, but didn't know to look up in the tree. Now I'm wondering if I should take the nest back out and return it to the ground, despite the risk of the neighborhood cats.