This spring, we had the great luck of watching a mother robin sit on a nest, lay her eggs, and take care of her babies. It was so amazing to watch her and the father bird feeding their babies. The babies went from tiny newborns to adorable little birds within a week and now our birds are gone. We really enjoyed watching them grow and learning about how birds take care of their young.
According to Wikipedia:
The American Robin begins to breed shortly after returning to its summer range. It is one of the first North American bird species to lay eggs, and normally has two to three broods per breeding season, which lasts from April to July.
The nest is most commonly located 1.5–4.5 meters (5–15 ft) above the ground in a dense bush or in a fork between two tree branches, and is built by the female alone. The outer foundation consists of long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers. This is lined with smeared mud and cushioned with fine grass or other soft materials. A new nest is built for each brood, and in northern areas the first clutch is usually placed in an evergreen tree or shrub while later broods are placed in deciduous trees. The American Robin does not shy away from nesting close to human habitation.
A clutch consists of three to five light blue eggs, and is incubated by the female alone. The eggs hatch after 14 days, and the chicks leave the nest a further two weeks later. The altricial chicks are naked and have their eyes closed for the first few days after hatching. While the chicks are still young, the mother broods them continuously. When they are older, the mother will brood them only at night or during bad weather.
The chicks are fed worms, insects, and berries. Waste accumulation does not occur in the nest because adults collect and take it away. Chicks are fed, and then raise tails for elimination of waste, a solid white clump that is collected by a parent prior to flying off. All chicks in the brood leave the nest within two days of each other. Even after leaving the nest, the juveniles will follow their parents around and beg food from them. Juveniles become capable of sustained flight two weeks after fledging.
The adult male and female both are active in protecting and feeding the fledged chicks until they learn to forage on their own. The adult Robin gives alarm calls and dive-bombs predators, including domestic cats, dogs and humans that come near the young birds. The fledglings are able to fly short distances after leaving the nest. The wings of juvenile birds develop rapidly, and it only takes a couple of weeks for them to become proficient at flying. The cryptically colored young birds perch in bushes or trees for protection from predators.
I found this information truly amazing, as it is what we saw right in our yard! Please beware of this influx of photos of our birds!
One of the babies hopped all over our backyard while I was watching. He came pretty close to the window and even met Rudy at the sliding door! He blended in well in these pictures, so see if you can spot him.
We already miss watching our birds.
This bird was also in our yard, sitting on her nest in the tree. Unfortunately, a large crow tried to attack her and both she and her baby left the nest. I later saw the mom and dad hopping around the yard, I assume looking for their baby. They haven’t returned to the nest since.
Have you ever watched nature mature in front of your very eyes? This was a great learning experience for all of us!