Our Backyard Bird Babies

There’s so much going on in nature this time of year. Yes, we have all the spring and summer blooms making their grand entrance into the season. Right now my yellow day lilies are starting to open, always in full bloom for the 4th of July holiday. Lately, I’ve been seeing all the sweet animal babies out and about on my walks, and weekend bike rides. Yesterday, I shared the bike path with a gaggle of fuzzy goslings, and while walking that same path, I saw some ducklings swimming on the lake, with mommy and daddy close by. Of course, what they say about rabbits has to be true because there are baby bunnies absolutely everywhere!! I’ll never forget a few years back, my doodle Molly came to the back door wagging her tail with a baby bunny in her mouth. Needless to say, I was horrified. I calmly took the bunny from her mouth and realized it was not only still alive, but uninjured. I found the nest and put it back with it’s brothers and sisters, and Molly was kept on a leash until they safely left the yard. We have a lot of bushy trees in our backyard, which are perfect for nesting birds. Every year we have cardinals in our large boxwoods and robins in our evergreens. This year, however, a particularly stubborn robin decided to build a nest under the eave of our house, over the patio. I really wasn’t thrilled with that location because we are always going in and out there, birds are messy, it’s above concrete so if a baby should happen to fall, it probably wouldn’t end well, and of course we have a frisky labradoodle named Sawyer. Anyone with a dog, especially the hunting variety knows this isn’t a good thing. Every day she started building, and every night I took it down. This went on for several days until I woke up one morning, looked out the kitchen window, and not only was the nest built, she was sitting in it defiantly staring at me. I swear she pulled an all nighter! At this point, I decided to leave her alone.

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The nice thing about having a tall husband is his ability to reach places that are very difficult for me. He was my official bird photographer for this nesting robin and he got some great pictures. I have to say, as much as I didn’t want her nesting on my patio, I thoroughly enjoyed having this bird’s eye (ha!) view of our newest tenants. I’m up early, so every morning I made my coffee and watched all the activity out my kitchen window, or while sitting on the patio. Our robin quickly got used to all of us, even Sawyer who other than sitting below and watching the nest a few times, didn’t give it too much of his attention. Now I would hardly call myself a bird watcher, however I did check out a few facts about robins that I thought I would share with you, along with some photos.

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Robins do not mate for life, however they remain together for an entire breeding season, although many return to the same territory in the spring and often end up together.

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Robins usually lay 4 light blue eggs over the course of several days which incubate for 2 weeks. Most pairs of robins will try to raise at least 3 broods of chicks a year, and both parents care for their young.           IMG_4206

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Chicks open their eyes 5 days after hatching and will fledge one at a time, when they are between 14 and 16 days old.

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As you can see, it was getting a little crowded in there. I thought for sure one was going to tumble out, especially when they started flapping their wings. I’m happy to say they all survived.

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Interestingly, juvenile robins are still cared for by their parents for about 10 days after they leave the nest, until they are more skilled at flying, and ready to be on their own. They also remain with the same group of birds. I have to say, I missed them after they all left the nest, but am happy to report that a new nest has been built, this time in a tree in the front of our house, and so we begin again.

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Have a great week! ~May

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