Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What happened to our Robins?

As I stated yesterday, I want to fill you in on what happened to the robin's nest we found this summer.

Cue the flashback sequence music!

It was on June 15th when we discovered a robin's nest in the lowest branch of one of our peach trees. It was only about four feet off the ground and had three eggs in it.

We checked on the nest every day and the mother seemed to be doing a good job tending her nest. After a few days however, when we checked on the nest we found this:

The nest had nearly fallen out of the tree, but the eggs were still on the ground and not broken. We put the eggs back in the nest and tied the nest more securely to the tree.

We kept checking each day, and a few days later an egg fell out again. This time, I wasn't sure if it would be okay because it was cracked and you could see the fuzzy little bird through the cracks. I put the egg back anyway. This time, the mother bird was screaming at me quite a bit as she sat perched on the neighboring apple tree. I was also pretty uneasy because the local stray cat was watching the whole scene as well.

The next day I went to check on the nest and because of the cat, I expected the eggs to be gone. Instead, I was delighted to find that the broken egg from the day before had completely hatched!

The next day, we all went out to check on them and the baby bird was still there but one of the remaining two eggs were gone! When I looked around on the ground, instead of finding the egg, I found another baby bird that had fallen out. I wasn't sure if I could pick it up without getting my scent on it and causing the mother bird to reject it, so I picked it up using my shirt. I put it back in the nest and tied the nest to the tree even better than before. This was getting a bit ridiculous!

I know this is getting redundant, but the next day...

there were two healthy baby birds but the third egg was gone. It was not on the ground and there was no baby bird either. We weren't too terribly upset, because watching the remaining two babies was a real treat!

The problem was that every time the mother robin took off from the nest, she knocked it over a little bit more. The branch was also getting heavier and heavier because under the nest was a foundation of five growing peaches!

Some time in the next week or so, another baby disappeared. The remaining baby robin seemed to double in size each day until it took up the entire nest. I have no idea how three birds could have fit in that nest.

The remaining baby grew until it looked almost as big as an adult robin. One night it was particularly windy and the next morning the baby robin was gone and blue jays were stealing straw from the nest. I assume they were taking it to use in nests of their own. There is much recycling in nature.

So what happened to the baby robin and its mother? Through our research of how robins raise their young, we learned that the mother kicks the baby out a couple of weeks BEFORE it knows how to fly. She continues to care for it in the undergrowth of thickets and small woods. We have plenty of that at the edge of our yard, so we'd like to think that "Junior" survived to adulthood just fine. We're pretty sure that he would have had no chance at all without our intervention.

Regardless of his fate, that nest in our peach tree was a true blessing to our family. How wonderful it was to see God's work in nature at such close range! It was neat to see the babies hatch and the surviving baby grow! It was also neat to see the mother so diligently taking care of her young!

So ever since that surviving baby robin left us, when I see a robin in the yard, I think to myself "I bet that's Junior!"

3 comments:

eknow

You were truly blessed to find that robin's nest. I love your site. It's wonderful!
Thanks for taking the pics of the robins. It wasn't redundant to me at all....it was so much better than watching TV!

Anonymous

Thank you..thank you..thank you soo much for posting this information on robins. You know I too have robins in my backyard..actually under my deck but above the ground. I found 3 blue eggs as well and watched them hatch..we never touched them and just watched the mother sit on them day in and day out (we've had cold weather lately here in delaware)however, now i've noticed while there was three birds, there's now only two still little like the ones in your pics..i checked the ground below and no sign of it..i was upset and concerned because it wouldn't make sense why there's a bird missing but i guess as your info brought out the mother kicks the bird out sooner than they can fly...i guess this is necessary but still kind of crazy to me..i'll just continue checking on the other two..i hope they'll be ok..this is so much fun though watching our heavenly Creator's work at its best!!!

Marc

I agree that it is wonderful to get to watch the baby robins. After that whole mess in the peach tree, we put up robin nesting boxes on our privacy fence. This year we were blessed to watch 3 babies grow up without any assistance from us. We took lots of pictures and I will post again about it soon.

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