Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 28, 2008 - Bad day for one, good day for the other

Today is RAINY and very cold. I feel bad for the Mom trying to keep her eggs warm. I caught her rolling the eggs over with her beak and then settling down for another marathon incubation period. Since it was raining, she opened up her wings to cover the entire nest so the eggs wouldn't get wet. She didn't look too happy. From what I have seen so far, this warming eggs gig is no fun at all! The Mother does all the work and she will chirp to the Father when she needs a break to eat. He doesn't come sit on the eggs but he does guard it near-by.

I have done a little reading on Robin's since finding the nests. I guess the Mom will call the Dad when she wants to leave the nest. He will come and guard it for about 15 minutes to give her time to stretch her wings and eat. When she comes back he goes back to roost at the boys club. All of the men roost in the trees as a group while all of their baby-mama's are doing all the hard work! I have yet to see the father from this family but I do hear him singing to the mother every morning. Although, this serenade isn't for her benefit. He does it to let other males know that is his territory. He also does it to announce to the ladies that he is a stud and has mated with another female! His song is pretty but loud! He usually wakes us up around 5-ish and we have to close the windows. I can only imagine how loud it is going to be with three hungry babies screeching every morning!!

From what I have observed, this Mom seems to be experienced. She quickly built a simple but seemly sturdy nest. She is much larger than the other Robin, more colorful and mature looking. I sometimes confuse her for a male. I don't think this is her first nesting season.

Here's Big Mama:

The rain didn't make for a good day for Big Mama but the other Robin loved it! It helped loosen up the thatch and it was much easier for her to pull up. Plus, she was able to add more mud to the second layer. Because of this, she made a lot of progress on her nest today.

April 27, 2008 - Under construction and laying eggs

Now that I am aware of the two nests in the front yard, I'm trying to figure out who is shacking up in our holly trees. I was able to find and watch the pair that were still in the nest building phase. She looks very young; I figure she was probably born around this time last year, so this is probably her first time building a nest. The coloring on her breast is very pale and splotchy and she is kind of scrawny; hard to believe there are eggs in her little body somewhere! The male is a typical male Robin Red-Breast. He seems to guard her very well, always standing at attention nearby. He chirps at her at any sign of danger as she picks away at the grass to build her nest.

So far it looks like she has the straw base and the layer of mud down. From the little I know about nests, I believe she has to do a fine grass layer next and the nest will be complete. She is very busy pulling up thatch to build the middle layer, her nest seems to be a lot more complex compared to the other Robin's nest. I think the Dad has the best job of all, keeping one eye on the Mom as she searches high and low for decent thatch; while keeping his other eye on the fat earth worm coming out of the ground!

Here she is with thatch for her nest!

Here's the Dad guarding his mate.

I checked on the other nest on and off during the day. I try to do this mostly from my bedroom window since I don't want to disturb the Mom and risk her getting spooked and leaving her nest. It seems like she leaves the nest at very infrequent, small increments. When I caught her out trying to refuel, I saw that she had laid another egg! This makes three total.

April 26, 2008 - There's another one!!

After we finished landscaping one side of the yard, we went over to the other side and found ANOTHER nest in the other holly tree!! This nest looked much sturdier, pretty much finished, so I looked inside. There was one beautiful blue egg!! I knew we had to get out of there quickly so the Mom could come back and keep the eggs warm so we did our work quickly and got out of there.

A few hours later, I wanted to show Claire the nest and when we looked in, there was another egg! Pretty exciting for a bird lover to see. This holly tree is directly under our bedroom window. You can't see directly inside since it is a little higher up in the tree and she camouflaged it a little better. But good enough for me! You can still see the eggs pretty well from inside of our house.

Before bed I wanted to check to see if there was a parent tending to the eggs since I hadn't seen any birds near the active nest. So I quickly put a flashlight beam on the nest and sure enough, there was the Mom, sitting on the nest! I was so glad because I know how easily birds can abandon nest's if they feel threatened.

April 26, 2008 - We found a Robin's nest!!

We were re-landscaping our front yard when Jon spotted the startings of a bird nest in the Holly bush in our front yard. We looked around a bit and sure enough, there was a female Robin with grass in her beak waiting for us to get out of her way! About 5 feet away from her was a angry looking male Robin definitely guarding his mate. Unfortunately for them we had to get our yardwork done, fortunately for us, they didn't abandon the site after their construction was put on hold for a few hours.

The nest is directly under our living room window! You can look directly inside of it, so it will be perfect for viewing the babies. We are all really excited about watching a new Robin family grow this Spring!