The robin's nest under my window
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The Robin's Nest Under My Window
Photos and text by Julie Corsi
Original photos are at Flickr
May 14, 2005 through June 10, 2005
In May, 2005, a robin built her nest under my bedroom window.
The nest is on top of a rose trellis. The first time I opened the window to get a close look was May 13.
The nest was perfect but empty.
Amazing that without engineering and tools of all sorts, a bird can make something so symmetrical and beautiful.
On May 14, I opened the window to take another look. Hey! There's an egg! Mama bird laid her first egg.
May 15, 2005
May 15, 2005. Day three since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window. The mama bird was in there this morning, but must be at lunch right now, so I was able to sneak a peek.
She's been busy! We're up to two eggs. Good girl!
May 16, 2005
May 16, 2005. Day four since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window.
The nest is about 6 1/2 feet above ground, on top of a rose trellis, and about 4 feet below one of my bedroom windows.
The mama bird is usually in the nest and I'd like to take a picture of her sitting in her home, but she flies away when she hears me cranking the window open.
Yesterday, there were two eggs. Today, hurray! There are three!
I'll have to do some research now on egg hatching times to prepare for future discoveries.
May 17, 2005
May 17, 2005. Day five since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window.
Today, I was lucky enough to catch mama bird still in the nest. On past days, she would fly away as soon as she heard me turn the crank to open the window. This picture is early in the morning, maybe she was still half asleep.
I made an interesting discovery comparing the close-up of the eggs from yesterday and today:
the eggs are not in the same position as yesterday. Does the mother bird move them deliberately? Or do they just roll around as she sits on them?
Of course, if you own a cat, nothing happens in the house, or anywhere around it, without cat examination and approval.
Bandit watched very patiently while I leaned out the window to take pictures, then thought he'd better check to see what all the fuss was about.
May 18, 2005
May 18, 2005. Day six since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window.
So ... how long does it take for robin's eggs to hatch?
According to Eggs & Nest - Advice from WildBirds.com it should be 14 to 16 days.
May 19, 2005
May 19, 2005. Day seven since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window.
We're having severe thunderstorms, but I braved hanging out the window to get this photo.
Amazing how the mother bird spreads her wings & lifts her tail so that water gathers on her back instead of the nest. Her head is to the left, obscured by the rose leaf.
Enlarge the photo to see the water gleaming on her feathers.
Here's how the eggs look today:
May 20, 2005
May 20, 2005. Day eight since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window.
The nest is on top of a trellis which was built to support a climbing rose bush. As the rose is growing, it's starting to interfere with my picture angles. Today, I risked my life to hang out the window to try to cut some of the leaves which are in the way.
I hope the neighbors aren't watching. But they think I'm crazy anyway, so I guess it wouldn't matter if they saw me hanging out my bedroom window holding a pair of pruning shears with a camera dangling around my neck.
May 21, 2005
May 21, 2005. Day nine since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window.
I'll get pictures later today of what the nest looks like from ground level.
May 22, 2005
May 22, 2005. Day ten since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window. The nest is at the left, at the top of the rose trellis.
This is a fairly busy area, we walk along a path through here to get to the back yard. The robin mom used to fly away as soon as she heard a noise of any sort, but she seems to have become used to us and only flies away now when I open the bedroom window above her.
Here's all you see of mom robin & her nest, looking up, at ground level. And here's what the eggs look like today, when mom robin left to get herself some lunch.
May 23, 2005
May 23, 2005. Day eleven since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window.
The nest was empty on the day I discovered it, that means the oldest egg is ten days old. If the eggs are on schedule, 14 to 16 days, we should be seeing something by the end of the week.
I'm getting quite attached to this whole idea of watching this little robin family get created. I had an awful dream last night about a blue jay attacking the nest and mama robin fighting him off. Scary! I hope nothing bad happens.
May 24, 2005
May 24, 2005. Day twelve since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window.
I've watched this mama robin for twelve days now, and have realized how much we under rate other creatures. We think of most animals, especially birds, as dumb brutes with very little intelligence.
But look at this nest. Perfectly circular without a compass, straight without a level, tightly woven without an instruction manual. Imagine the hours it took to find the perfect spot to build, to forage for the right building materials, and to have it be finished before it was time to lay the first egg.
Now, there she sits, hour after hour, protecting her unborn babies, using her body to keep them warm and dry. She's certainly already outdone many human mothers.
May 25, 2005
May 25, 2005. Day thirteen since I discovered the robin's nest under my bedroom window. The oldest egg is 12 days old today.
I'm eagerly waiting for that first egg to hatch, which should be any day now, and did some research while I was waiting.
Some facts about robins:
Mating:Robins generally remain together for the breeding season, but often mate with other individuals the following year.
Nesting: It takes from two to six days to make the nest, with an average of 180 trips per day to find materials. Males sometimes help gather nesting materials but the female chooses the site and builds the nest.
Brooding: The female robin incubates her eggs for about 12 to 16 days. She sits on the eggs for 40-minute periods. Then she stands up, turns the eggs and flies off to feed or for a break. The male stands guard and sometimes sits on the eggs.