Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Topic: Miss Kitty's New Neighbor: A Mama Robin
On May Day, Sunday, May 1, 2005, Miss Jerrianne and I saw a robin sitting in a crotch in the birch tree just outside our window. We thought she might be measuring that cozy spot for a new nest. Sure enough! When we woke up on May 2, the nest was in place and the robin was scooting around inside it, making a secure cup to hold eggs and baby robins.
When the nest was finished, we think she laid an egg. She came back a day or two later and we think she laid another egg. The nest is right at eye level for Miss Jerrianne, but even sitting on her shoulder I can't see inside, even when Mama Robin leaves the nest, so we have to guess.
Miss Jerrianne set up a camera on a tripod and poked the lens through the venetian blinds. One morning at 5:30 a.m. I woke up when the robin returned to lay another egg. I made sure Miss Jerrianne woke up, too. She said it was too dark for photography at 3:30 a.m. "sun time," even though we could see the robin on the nest.
I've been very good about not bothering the Mama Robin, but that doesn't mean I'm ignoring her. She knows it, too. It's hard to grab a nap when you have to keep one eye open to see what's going on behind you ... in this picture, it's the other eye that's open, watching for intruders.
By Saturday it appeared that all the eggs had been laid and Mama Robin was beginning the two-week brooding period. Facing the other way, Mama Robin blends so well with her surroundings that that we hardly see her. She keeps a sharp eye out for predators ... that would be me!
We think the eggs will hatch sometime this coming weekend and that the baby birds will fledge two or three weeks later.
Date: Saturday, May 28, 2005
Next, Mama Robin bent down and regurgitated food into the beaks, one by one. The "baby food" is just to get the little guys off to a good start. In a day or two they'll graduate to real grub ... er... grubs ... and bits of earthworms, etc.
This little guy was still hungry!
Mama Robin is a tidy nestkeeper and into recycling any available protein. When she cleaned up after her brood, removing fecal pellets in their little sacs, it appeared that she simply ate them.
Date: Thursday, June 2, 2005
When they were full, the little robins turned "bottoms up" and pooped out a fecal pellet in a white sac.
She lifted it off and carried it away from the nest. Very efficient! Better than Pampers!
The little guys are almost fully feathered --
-- and the nest is getting very crowded.
It's time to bust out of here and enroll in flight school!
The baby robins settled down for one last nap in their cozy nest.
And later that day, while no one was watching, the baby robins all flew away...