June 15, 2014

Baby Robins

I was walking into our garage several weeks ago and found myself ducking from a string of twigs. I thought it odd that this white ribbon entwined with twigs was hanging from the door, so I looked up. Much to my surprise, I saw even more twigs stuffed in between the lights above the garage door. I instantly thought "those kids have stooped to a new low. Why on earth would they waste times stuffing our backyard lights with dirt and twigs?! Isn't stealing our recycling bin enough?!" (We have a middle school at a block away from where we live and those school kids are wild- to say the least.)

I grabbed a step-stool and my camera to get a closer look at the mess. I was shocked to see it wasn't a mess at all, but a neatly crafted nest. There were no eggs in it at the time. Beau wanted to take it down. The thought of an angry mama bird trying to keep her babies safe was not something he wanted to encounter. I pleaded with him that we keep it there. Afterall, she put such care into building it-- although it looked pretty rough on the outside, the inside was quite neat and smooth. Besides, we didn't know if she would actually lay her eggs there. She could have found a better location and decided to abandon that nest. That was my argument anyway, in an effort to have Beau agree to keeping the nest up (just in case). 

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About a week or so later, Beau mentioned seeing a bird fly away when he went out to the back yard. I thought he was just paranoid, but then I saw the same thing when I was leaving for work one morning. So after work that day, I grabbed a chair and a camera and blindly (the chair/step-stool wasn't tall enough for me to look in) snapped a photo of the inside of the nest. When I viewed the photo, I was so excited to see four blue eggs laid side by side in the nest. They were so beautiful. I instantly fell in love and needless to say, Beau got even more nervous.

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One week later, I decided to check on the eggs. My neighbors kids had a field day throwing balls around the day before and it made me a little anxious that they could have hurt the eggs. I snapped a couple photos and when I reviewed them, I saw two naked baby robins lying face down in the nest. I was even more in love.


Every few days after that, I would snap photos of the baby birds. Not every day, as to give mama and babies some time away from this crazy camera lady. Each time I shot photos of them, they got bigger and bigger and more feathered. Sometimes the sound of the camera shutter made them think I was mama bringing food, so they stretched their necks up and opened their mouths really wide. It was quite funny and a little mean.

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One day, I went out to take a pic of them and they were fully feathered and practically bursting out of the nest. They were also less sleepy and more alert. That was my last photo of them. I went back just two days later and they were no longer there. To be honest, I felt a little sad. They were kind of like my non-human babies although I had no part in rearing or feeding them. I loved them nonetheless, and I am so happy that mama bird chose the lights above our garage door to build her nest and raise her babies.

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Side notes:
** There were four eggs in the nest, but only 3 birds seemed to have survived. I'm not sure what happened to the other egg/chick, but I'm sure mama bird took care of it. She cleared the nest of all egg shells after each chick was fully hatched.
** You may be wondering how I was able to get such detailed photos of the baby birds--here's how...Each time I opened our back door, mama bird would be startled and fly away. She always perched herself on a tree limb close by, however, which allowed to her keep a watch of her babes. She never showed any signs of aggression... only on those few days after the chicks hatched. I couldn't get any good shots because the camera wouldn't focus (I think the chicks were moving around a lot) so I was out there taking photos longer than anticipated. Mama AND papa bird got a little antsy and would fly up to the door of my neighbor's house, flap their wings really hard, and then fly back to the tree limb. That was my cue to get the heck outta there. Other than that, I respected them and their babies, and they didn't try to peck me to death.


1 comment:

  1. Isn't neat to watch them grow a little each day? At my parents house there's always one or two nests each spring in the crabapple trees with baby birds.


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