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Robin's Nest Blog 2005

 

  Another Glorious Spring and once again Nature's miracle is  revealed anew. The annual renewal attempt by the aviary legions is in itself a continuing passion play fraught with wonder, mystery, danger, and excitement. Our Robin story was a happy one in 2002 and a tragedy in 2004. Now once again a chance to observe, wait and hope that the 2005 first nest clutch is one of the 40% that will survive.

A note about the architecture of this page.  The thumbnail pictures on the left can be clicked for a full size view. The thumbnails on the right will point to a WMV video which will be selected to share the Robin Family progress. The video sizes are in the 3 to 12 MB range so best suited only for broadband internet connections. For best alignment please select medium text size under view if using IE browser. The first day's events will always  be at the top under "The Vigil Begins" and each new day's entries will be beneath with the most recent being at the bottom of the scroll.

 

The way it ended in 2004

 

 

 

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April 8,2005

As usual as  Spring begins to unfold,   I have noticed a change in the behavior of all our  birds and animals in the last few weeks. As Disney described it in "Bambi' -- Twitterpated - a definite pairing up has taken place.  With Robin's it seems, I always find the nest after it is completed and even though I am usually on the lookout for any construction activity, normally make the find unexpectedly when the squawking mother Robin  startles me out of my sox. No exception this year. The nest is built about six feet up in one of our front yard hollies. A few feet away from last years ill fated nest. I have not seen the serpent destroyer but then never do until it is too late. An earlier nest this year by about a month. Maybe the black Snake will still be sleeping when these three eggs  are hatched.  We shall see-----

April 9, 2005

Once again I am not sure when the last of the three eggs were laid, and so I can only guess the approximate date of the hatching.  The usual incubation time is 12 to 14 days and I will guess that I found the nest within a day or two of the last egg being produced. Ergo I am predicting that the blessed events will begin on April 19. Of course there will be no prize for hitting it on the nose but then I  will assume bragging rights if I do. The female robin does all the pre hatch work, she builds the nest , then lays the eggs, does all of the incubating, and then  finally gets to share the feeding and house cleaning duties to the clutch with the male. After the clutch (young offspring) fledge, (leave the nest) the male (father) will look after and teach the Fledglings (youngins) all about being Robins for about two weeks, and then if they have survived, they are on their own.  She keeps the eggs at about 100 degrees with her body which has a temperature of about 104 degrees. On warm dry days she can leave the eggs uncovered for up to 15 minutes and leaves the nest on average about every 75 to 90 minutes for food and other reasons as they keep a clean house. There is in fact more danger to the eggs of over heating than of being a little cool now and then . How does she know- Well she just does-- no really she constantly senses the egg temperature with her little bare spot on her breast which occurred through molting when she became an expectant mother. The bare spot is called the "brood patch" and this is how she knows to stay put or to let some air in to cool when they overheat. Pay attention there will be a test.  In the April 9 video you can see the brood patch as she prunes her feathers and notice how the breast feathers for the most part keep the brood patch out of sight. The other thing about this days video is the hammering sound that can be heard . This is really from a female cardinal, which has taken up head butting with a living room window just below the nest. I am trying to get a video of that and will unless she comes to her senses first.

 

 

 April 8 -The way it started in 2005

 

 

 

April 9- Brood patch- Pruner- and head banger

 

Click on these thumbnails for the videos

   

April 10

Another very warm day and so our little mother is allowed off the nest frequently. Today the dad to be showed up at the nest for just a minute , kinda checking on things I suppose. He did not stay long.  Meanwhile in another holly, I came across a nest in the making, and hurriedly set up another X10 on a stand to try to capture a little of the remaining nest building. Won't know until tomorrow if she still is interested with the intruder camera staring so intently.  Did a little holly trimming on the live nest and have a less obstructed view of the goings on

 

 

 

 

April 10 -She is on the Job.

 

   

April 11

The new nest construction continued today with the camera proving no obstacle to the nest building Mama (to be) Robin. Meanwhile our existing nest with three eggs incubating, was a carbon copy of yesterday and one day closer to my estimated April 19 hatch day. The two nests are very near to each other and I wonder, if all goes well in both if that proximity will cause any squabbling between the four adult bird parents.  The new nest is nearing completion and with rain tonight and lots of mud available for the finishing touches, I expect it will be egg laying time within the next day or two. It is truly a marvel, to witness the dogged determination and instinctive skill of this female Robin as this nest goes from a small clump of loosely clumped grass, straw and sticks to a rounded, smoothed and to spec finished product that resembles all the other Robin's nest I have seen in my lifetime. The tools she has used are her beak, her body , her feet, and her wings to fashion this masterpiece of construction.  The movie clip for this day is devoted to this construction, and nest number 2. Notice how she delivers the materials then arranges and molds them  into place with all the tools at her disposal. 

 

 

 

April 11-A new  second nest is being constructed

 Click on these thumbnails for the videos

   

 

April 12

Had rain today which was good for Nest number 2 construction activity. Lots of good mud to mix with the grass, straw et al. Not so good for Nest number 1. Mother Robin had to keep the eggs covered and shielded from the cool rain. She just spread her wings over the edges of the nest and the water just rolled off.  Nest number 2 looks to be about finished. Took her about 4 days to go from nothing to finished product. I will be looking for fresh eggs tomorrow- well maybe one fresh egg. I believe they only lay one per day. We shall verify that factoid- hopefully . Two videos today one for nest 1 and another for nest 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 13

Rain today and much cooler than the high 70's of the last three or four days. Not a pleasant beginning this morning as both  X10 cameras had been blown over. One into the grass and the other on a brick walkway. Fearing the worst,  I was delighted that both survived the crashes and after a little frustration had them reset and much better anchored.  Looks like nest number 2 is completed. Mama 2 was bringing in the fine, soft stuff to line the bottom, but activity has been little with long periods of absence. Now wondering when she will begin to lay eggs but understand that this could be as long as 20 days. Hope she doesn't forget where she built it.  Mama 1 is keeping her three eggs covered well today and I believe is getting somewhat accustomed to me as I reset the camera.  She let me get pretty close before she became agitated.  Short Video for today with a little Robin  (1) to Human communication and the last of the nest 2 building activity.

 

 

Recap to date Wednesday night April 13, 2005

Nest 1 found on April 8, 2005 with 3 eggs and Female has been incubating since and thus far only one brief glimpse of the Male.  My Prediction for hatching is April 19, 2005.

Nest 2 beginnings found about 30 feet from nest 1 on April 10 . Female Robin 2 made hundreds of trips with straw and mud and today (April 13) appeared to finish the nest and now has seemingly disappeared. It has now been hours since she was last there. Will she return to lay her eggs or has she abandoned it.

Based on  my past experience with the success of the Robin's nest around our home, I am not optimistic about the successful conclusion of either of these undertakings, and for sure not both. Hopefully I will be able to confirm the fates -whatever they will be. Interestingly enough I never again  caught sight of the Black Snake which devoured the nestlings last year after that gruesome episode. Maybe that threat is diminished- Or maybe somewhere out there under the leaves and mulch, he is flicking his tongue to catch a whiff of future dinner.

Of course with nature, I should resolve not to interfere, with the order of things, but it will be difficult if I see a tragedy beginning to unfold.

 

 

 

Click on these thumbnails for the videos

   

April 14

Can confirm this morning that the nest builder has made a couple of visits to the hopefully soon to be nursery. But mostly not much activity. And now have observed another Robin pair with nest under construction in the rear yard. Not to worry, though, I am out of X10 cameras. Will have to observe from a distance.

 

 

 

   

April 15

A taxing day for all

The incubation continues on nest 1, with Robin mother 1 catching lots of snoozes as she sets or sits on the eggs. That has always been a little confusing to me, because while she is sitting on  the eggs, the eggs  are also set in poultry terms.. Go figure. At any rate, rather uneventful so far to day for this nest. Not so for Nest 2 and Mother and Father 2. After going through withdrawal symptoms, due to the complete absence of any activity at the new nest for all of yesterday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised  this morning when  the female robin once again brought in more soft grass and straw for the bottom of her nest. Was really surprised when suddenly and on two or three occasions, the male robin showed up in the nest and the mating process appeared to  take place. So naturally, (pun intended) I have questions which I will attempt to research. One is does the nest building process happen before or after mating occurs. I had thought that the whole nest thing happened because mating had occurred, but then what is going on in the video on this day -the day the first egg is laid.  -------------

Breaking News

Guess it is Crunch time. Female Robin 2 returned to the nest and promptly laid the first egg , She is sitting there looking very much like Female Robin 1 and now some questions will be answered.  1 egg a day or more? that is the  new question. One blue egg is now visible to the camera and I verified up close an personal that there was only one.  At this stage not sure what was going on earlier, maybe just a little friendly send off before incubation doldrums begin.

Finally for the day, a note about New Mom's behavior following the first egg laying. Spent quite a bit of time looking after it and appeared to be in the incubation mode, of hunch down over the egg. Then quite early in the afternoon, she left and as least as long as any light was left, did not return. Same behavior as yesterday but this time with a single blue egg all alone in the nest and going to be in the 40's tonight. This is probably OK since incubation has not really begun.  I have read that she probably won't start the incubation process until the second or even third egg is laid.  Still I worry! And that is my nature.

 

 

Click on these thumbnails for the videos

 

 

 

 

 

   

April 16

My first camera look on nest 2 was about 8AM and no Robins and I could no longer see the egg and feared for the worse. Was it the camera angle or had something already dispatched the hoped for firstborn. Once again my fears were abated when both Robins, female and male, returned to the nest. It appeared as if he was just accompanying her and after what appeared like affection, a quick kiss, he was gone. She stayed about 20 minutes and by now I had confirmed that the egg was still there. So after another hour away she has returned again and hopefully will lay the second egg. The video shows the "kiss".  Meanwhile Faithful Mother 1 sits on the three eggs in nest 1 and now I believe only three days away from first hatch.--

Checked nest 2 again late this evening and now there are two eggs in the nest. Now  it appears incubation has  started as she spends more and more time on the nest. Perhaps tomorrow a third egg will be produced.

 

 

 

Click on these thumbnails for the videos

   

April 17

Breaking News - Literally

First hatchling enters the World in Nest 1.

  So it appears that my guess of April 19 was a poor soothsaying event. Looks like I hit the date with the same precision with which  I have selected a few lottery numbers in the past.

Just one  chick so far but the feeding routine has begun in earnest with both parents bringing it in. Both will drop the squirming morsels into that little gaping beak but on occasion the male will bring insects or worm to the female on the nest and transfer it to her, then she will complete the transaction passing it on to the first hatchling. Their work is just beginning with two more expected to hatch very soon.

Second Chick has  now hatched and the egg shells have been removed and I have confirmed one egg not yet hatched.  The nest 1 video for today shows some of this activity.

Nest 2 now has the third egg and incubation is in full process. Only mystery left here is whether or not there will be a fourth egg and we can't know that until tomorrow. My prediction for the second nest-- Hatching to begin April 29, 2005.

 

 

 

Click on the pictures for the Videos

 

 

 

Click on the pictures for larger version

 

 

 

April 18

The early news of the day-- Now four eggs in Nest 2 and still one unhatched egg in Nest 1 with still only two chicks hatched.

On this day the Robin pair on Nest 1 began the routine of bringing in the food and removing the hatchlings waste. I have noted that at this stage of one or two day old chicks , the frequency of the food deliveries is nowhere near where it will be as the chicks get older. Already they are becoming quite fuzzy headed and their eyes are still closed. They are responding to the sounds of their parents and although sometimes the parents have to alert them that food is here, with the firm clucks, they are getting the hang of it. Note in the first video for this day , at the end when the parents are not on the nest, human voices can be heard and the two little heads pop up in the feed me stance. These two are getting a head start on their yet to be hatched sibling and I have started to suspect that something  is wrong perhaps with the third egg.

Third hatchling enters the World in Nest 1.

Well, nothing apparently wrong with the third egg. Hatching occurred around 7 Pm some 30 hours after the last one. As can be seen from the second Video for the day, the Mother Robin assisted the struggling chick and removed one half of the egg shell. Then the Father appears with food, feeds the two oldest chicks, while the other end of the now animated blue egg shell can be seen thrashing about and then removes the other half of the latest empty shell. Shortly the Mother appears again with food and for the first time three hatchling heads are seen doing the bob and weave. So my earlier prediction for the hatching of this nest was only off one day, at least for the last one. My new concern, is will the last born be strong enough to compete for the food arrivals or will this too be somehow controlled by the parents to complete this miracle.

 

 

 

 

 

   

April 19

Another warm Spring day near 80 degrees. So far these two Robin pairs have had great weather to raise a family. All is well as the incubation continues on the four eggs in nest 2 and all three hatchlings in nest 1 appear to be healthy and always hungry.

 

Click on the pictures for the Videos

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 20 --- Robin Parents are good in a Clutch

This morning I once again had another anxious moment when noticing several feedings in Nest 1 had only two fuzzy heads visible at the same time. Since it went on for three or four food delivery/waste removal events, I was almost convinced that the last hatchling, which I will now call the runt, had either expired or was two weak to join in the food fight. Just as I was set to review yesterday's last tape to confirm if a misfortune had occurred, I glanced at the TV screen and a feeding run was underway and there they were, all three, runt and all.  Food runs are becoming fast and furious and the chicks can be heard as well as seen. This peeping sound will soon give way to the chattering sounds in a few days. Eyes on all chicks still closed, probably will see the first open eyes on Friday April 22. There were 70 to 80 food delivery events today. The hatchlings are becoming increasingly hungry as they grow and the last hatched is noticeably more naked they the other two . What a difference a day makes.

Meanwhile, on nest 2 the four egg incubation continues---

Weather to change tonight, Rain and cooler temps expected

 

 

 

 

Robins are  Passerines (Birds that perch)

Robin's are the largest Thrush

All Passerines young are Altricial - hatched with eyes closed, very little down , and well just downright  helpless, except to open their beaks to receive food

 

Robin young usually open  their eyes on the sixth day after hatching

 

 

 

April 21 - Jeepers Creepers Listen to those Peepers

No rain yet and so the ideal conditions for these Robin Families continues. So in nest 1, this is the fifth day of existence for two of the hatched Robins, but only the third for the last hatched. The runt as I respectfully refer to as the last hatched can easily be determined from the other two. Much smaller and not yet nearly as fuzzy as the others. Healthy though as can also be readily determined from the videos. The feeding cycle is stepping up in frequency and also in quantity delivered per trip, as there is no satisfying these metabolism machines. For maximum educational value, I will include the whole feeding/waste removal process in some of these videos.  Some may find it a bit gross, but hey , this is the way it really is. The truth is that there is almost as much matter leaving the nest as is being brought in and they don't have flush toilets. So the Robin Parents usually  demand a fecal sac presentation from the chicks on each trip which if not forthcoming will induce a definite instructional cluck from the parent to move things along. The hatchling growth rate is awesome and already with still two thirds of their nest stay to go, the nest is getting a bit crowded.

Nest 2 the incubation continues with another six or so days to go.

Expect tomorrow to be a real eye opener--- At least for one.

Slight pause to reflect

Watching these Robins do their thing, and memories are rekindled of a seven or eight year old boy in 1943 or 44 doing his thing which was always throwing stones at something. In a neighbors back yard one Sunday afternoon, in April or May, there was this Robin,  hip hopping across the grass, cocking its head looking for worms, I suppose, and looking exactly  like the parental ones in Nest 1 and Nest 2. A fairly large stone or rock as we called them was somehow there and the hunter instinct in this lad persuaded him to toss the rock at the hip hopping Robin. As fate would have it , the perhaps one percent chance of the projectile finding its mark, was realized. The unfortunate Robin fluttered under the blow and a short time later died in my hands despite my attempts to revive it with water from the garden hose. I felt very sad and remorseful for the deed I had done, and remember that feeling to this day. I have thought of that often as I have watched these Robin parents gathering humongous amounts of worms and insects and delivering them to the gaping mouths waiting and depending on that food arrival. A high likelihood that I not only was responsible for the demise of the direct recipient of my deed, but also perhaps another two, three or four hungry offspring. But then I think, if the Black Snake which devoured the hatching robins, last year was really an instrument of Nature's plan for robin population control, then perhaps a very skilled rock chucking lad, with no malice intended, was also part of that plan. --- That's what I tell myself anyway.

End of slight pause

 

Click on these for the  video

 

 

Click on the pictures for the Videos

 

 

 

 

 

The breeding  Range of the American Robin covers most of North America. The exceptions are extreme northern areas of Alaska and Canada

Certain Southern wintering areas in California, Arizona, and Florida are vacated and not used for breeding.

 

 

April 22 --A little Rain must fall -Thunder Over Louisville

The last of the great 70 and 80 degree days and easy living for both sets of Robins. Major storms early this evening and the Hollies were thrashed about substantially, and while the nest cameras were not blown over, they were both knocked askew. Was only a short daylight time after the storm but did confirm that both Robin Mothers were at their post on Nest 1 and Nest 2 after the turmoil.  Looks like I missed the eye opener day by at least one day. I really expected to see the first hatched open eyes today but could not confirm that. Actually since it is usually the sixth day, tomorrow is more likely for that event. Fast forwarding a 6 hour video I was able to confirm 42 food delivery events for a rate of 7 per hour. Appears to be right at 100 deliveries for the 14 hours of daylight. Of course every chick does not get morsels on each trip, but I can confirm that it is becoming more difficult to distinguish, the first hatched from the last hatched. All are becoming more fully clothed and to appear to be near the same size.  Tomorrow's high will only be about 48 degrees. So both Mothers will need to spend more time on the nest, one to keep the eggs warm and one to keep the chicks warm.

April 23   Storm Report - Two Viburnums,  1 X10 camera- All Robins OK

 Well the storm that blew thru here last night certainly put a damper on tonight's Kentucky Derby Kickoff Celebration gigantic Air show and Fireworks program, reputed to be the largest in the US. For the last week, the weather has been really warm and lots of sunshine but now we probably won't make it out of the 40's today.  I had to scramble to realign the camera on Nest 2 and replace the camera on nest 1 this morning.  Luckily I had an extra x10 and as usual "it's an ill wind that blows no good"  is true once again. In changing the nest 1 camera, the new position is actually closer to the nest and the hatchlings can be observed really up close and personal. There are many things about Robins that I have heard and known or read about in my life time of absorbed data, but it is especially meaningful when you can substantiate those things with real time observation. One example was the behavior of the Nest 1 Robin pair when I had to make a few trips to the nest to fine tune the camera. Each time they both would of course squawk but then would both fly to the walk just in front of me and stay on the ground just a bit ahead of me trying to lead me away from the nest.  Well It worked , I completed my task and the Robin pair resumed their duties and by now have forgotten this old intruder. Confirmed that at least one of the chicks eyes are open, maybe two.

 

 

 

Click on the pictures for the Videos

 

 

 

   

April 24

Today marks the midpoint of the three hatchlings stay in their nest home. Feathers are growing on the wings and the downy feathers are covering more of their body. The nest is becoming filled as these birds grow noticeably each day, but the Robin mother still can and does keep a lid on it. Especially now the the weather is only in the 50's . I expect that by this time next Sunday , in just seven days we will find our nest 1 empty just about the time the eggs are hatching in nest 2.  Going now with the larger size videos to give a better idea of the size and feather growth.

April 25  The Eyes have it--All eyes open- what a beautiful World

Our Robin laboratory has once again confirmed what has been written and documented as Robin facts. Young Robins open their eyes on the sixth day after hatching. The Nest 1 hatchlings have entered their seventh and eighth day and are becoming quite a nest full. The feeding/waste removal cycles have stepped up in frequency and the young birds seem to sleep much of the time in between- I would use the term" cat naps", but feel a certain uneasiness in that terminology when used here. Strong winds yesterday and today proved that these Mamas really know how to construct a nest as both nest are intact, and at this point all seems to be well. No sign of the Serpent destroyer from last year. 

 

 

 

 

 

   

April 26  Nest 1 Chicks are 8 and 9 days old  Nest 2 Eggs 6-9days

A rainy day so nest 1 Mother spends a good deal of time covering  these chicks  which is now becoming quite a chore as the trio of growing hatchlings is a force to be reckoned with. When the male brings in the worms she leaves for only a short time.

 

 

 

 

 

The oldest chick is beginning to do some wing flapping today as the time of Fledging approaches .

 

 

 

The Male on Nest 2 stands guard over the eggs while the female takes a break from incubation duties. When she returns the male leaves again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

incubation period 12 days plus or minus 2 days.

 

Nestling  time about 14 days

 

 

April 27  Nest 1 Chicks are 9 and 10 days old  Nest 2 Eggs 7-10 days

Almost done--The three chicks on nest one have now become almost too much for the Robin Mother to cover but still does so frequently since the temperature has remained in the 40 to 60 degree range.. Luckily this comes at at time when their own feathers and down provides some self warmth. While they are still naked on some parts of their body, the wing feathers are formed and the white streaks or spots on the back have formed. The breasts are pretty much covered with the characteristic orange plumage and they are becoming much more animated. In fact by afternoon, they have become so aware of themselves that they spend a substantial amount of time between feedings, pruning and scratching, and sometimes so preoccupied that they don't even notice when a fresh food delivery arrives, until the attention getter cluck from the delivery robin brings those heads up and beaks wide open.

One problem that I have noticed is that because the chicks are consuming so much food, mostly earthworms, the fecal sacks are becoming quite large, and many times the parent robin is unable to service all three on one visit. This has caused many of the droppings to be missed and fall into the nest. It does not stay long because on the next trip, the nest will be cleaned. Today's video however shows a perfect score on hatchling service.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Recap to date Wednesday night April 20, 2005

Nest 1 found on April 8, 2005 now has three hatchlings, will be 11 days old tomorrow for one and 9 and 8 for the other two. The young are now almost fully plumaged and are strongly exercising  their wings and will be ready to leave the nest in the next few days.

Nest 2 beginnings found about 30 feet from nest 1 on April 10 . There are now four eggs being incubated now for 10 or 11days and hatching could begin also in the next two or three days.

So far there have been no calamities befall either nest other than several very windy days and now cooler temperatures as well as a fairly violent rain/hail storm five days ago. Both nest emerged intact and no injuries or damage to eggs, or hatchlings and so far no sign of the Black Snake from last years story.

If all continues to go well, I expect that by the end of this week, Nest 1 will be empty nested, and nest 2 will be in full swing on the feeding detail.

 

Second slight pause to reflect

It is commonly believed that the first Robin sighting is a sure sign of Spring, and the common understanding is that over the Winter the Robins go (migrate) somewhere to the warmer climes, and have therefore returned to be the harbinger. This is probably true for the Canadian Provinces and the Northern States in the US.  In Kentucky , however, where we also have some rather cold winters, I have become aware in recent years, that they don't really leave this area, but stay fairly close to their Spring and Summer Nesting grounds. We just don't see them hip hopping over the lawns, looking for earthworms and insects, hard to come by when the ground is frozen or snow covered. During this time they accumulate in great flocks, and roost together in more wooded areas where their other diet components of nuts and berries can be found. This great flock phenomenon locally is not new, having seen reports from the early 1900's of the same. But personally it has been only in the last two or three years that I have seen this sight and must confess, did not expect to see the hoards of Robins in feeding frenzies. In fact if you are really close to it , is most unnerving,  akin to the fantasy movie by Hitchcock called "The Birds" . Last year was a good berry year for our hollies, the very same hollies which are home to our nest 1 and nest 2 families.

In Late January, the hollies were almost red with so many berries.  Mockingbirds are also berry lovers and a lone pair had brightened the dark days of Winter having made these hollies their private stock and would almost daily sit in my office window sill pecking at their reflection in the glass and making those melodious sounds. This went on for several days in January and I became quite accustomed to and appreciative of these visits. What happened then and my feeling about it is best conveyed via this message I sent to a friend.

 

 
   

Robins are Swarming again.

Actually when they attack the Holly Berries, they appear to be on a feeding
frenzy like locust or grasshoppers. The Hollies had a good crop of red
berries this year and a pair of Mockingbirds had taken up residence and even
sat in my office window sill, looking in on me from time to time. . All was
well and their chirping was pleasant and welcome. Not their full songs but
just chirping. Then on Sunday the unruly gang of Robins attacked, the
Hollies. There were hundreds of them swarming into the trees like maddened
devil birds. They cleaned them out in about 1 hour. All gone, and the
Mockingbird pair swooped and attacked single birds in a vain attempt to save
their Eden but were defeated with overwhelming force. . And now the berries
are gone, the Robin's are gone and alas so too the Mockingbirds.  Oh well, perhaps  
somewhere under the leaves is a certain well known and reputed Black
Serpent, waiting , waiting, waiting, for the next Robin nest. And then once
again perhaps Nature's plan will be re-implemented.
In nature it is  sometimes difficult to determine, just which side I am on

But now really, I am for the birds, well actually been told that a time or two. In the case of Nest 1 and Nest 2, I really am for the birds.

End of  second slight pause

 

 

New in 2006 the Robin Mob returns to the Hollies

See the video here

 

 

A Robin Pair will usually have two clutches, and sometimes three in a breeding season

Each  female Robin needs to have at least three successful Robin chicks survive to keep the robin population status quo

 

 

April 28  Nest 1 Chicks are10 and 11 days old  Nest 2 Eggs 8-11 days  

Another cool and rainy day. Nest 2 female spent most of the day on the four eggs as temperatures were only in the 50's again. These eggs will surely begin to hatch in the next day or two and in Nest 1-- These  three chicks are really beginning to look like Robins now and the nest is filled to the rim. Due to the rain, heavy at times the mother still managed to cover them for times but that is a struggle and much of the time the chicks have been exposed to the rain and cold. This does not seem to have any negative effect on them and the food deliveries just keep coming in. Yesterday there were about 140 food delivery cycles. I still believe that by Sunday night , just three days away, fledging will have occurred and  nest 1 will be empty.  I also project that there will be at least one hatchling in nest 2 and maybe more by then.

 

 

 

Shh- Don't want to discourage the nest 1 birds but if the statistics hold true only one of them is expected to survive to November 1, even after Fledging. Actually less than one of the three since the Fledgling  survival rate is only  25%  

April 29  Nest 1 Chicks are 12 and 11 days old  Nest 2 Eggs 9-12 days

The Weather continues cool and rainy. On nest 2 incubation continues and I did a close check to see if any hatching activity had occurred. None had, still four eggs and no cracking . Due to the rain the female on nest 2 stayed on the eggs with only very short periods off the nest.  The situation on Nest 1 is growing more and more urgent. The chicks are larger and now the breast feathers with the juvenile white streaks are fully plumed. The exercising is becoming more and more vibrant and even looked like a couple of times that a chick could almost eject itself from the nest . That did not happen however and all three are still receiving nourishment on a stepped up schedule. The Mother had a problem with the rain and the unruly gang of hatchlings. Cool and wet she tried to cover them to shield them from the elements, but they are so large now, and require even  more food , that the male could not keep up. Much of the day, the hatchlings were uncovered in the rain while it took both parents hopping to keep the beaks filled and fecal sacs removed. Still betting on empty nest by Sunday evening and today is Friday.

 

 

 

Of course we are trying to beat the odds here since the successful clutch rate is only 40%.

If Nest 2 makes it to Fledge we will have beaten those odds.

 

 

April 30  Hatching in Nest 2. All four eggs hatched within a 24 hour period

Today was hatch day for all four hatchlings in nest 2. These eggs were laid one per day starting on April 15 with the last of the four laid on April 18. The mother adjusted the incubation, delaying serious incubation until the third egg, with the goal being to hatch all within a short time frames. She succeeded very well indeed. This is in contrast to the hatching schedule of the three eggs in nest 1. The last egg there was hatched some 30 hours after the previous two .

 

 

 

The three hatchlings in nest 1 are ready to fledge. I expected some nest exiting today but it did not occur. The nest cannot continue to house the three, now very large young birds. I expect that tonight is the last night these birds will spend in their nest home.

 

 

 

 

 

   

May 1  Wrong Again-- Chicks in Nest 1 did not check out!

The three hatchlings in nest one are shall we say close - in a packed house. But what the hey, the living is good here and so they have elected to spend at least one more night. In some studies the mean fledge time is 13.7 days, and today was day 14 for the oldest chick here so we will continue to watch and wait. I know I could not go to the camera for any adjustment now because that would surely spook them so, hope there is no reason to do so. Weather looks good for this week so don't expect to have that need. Went with the 640 size video for a better look at the nests.

 

 

On Nest 2 , the feeding of four has started and and the chicks are today 1 day old. Mother is brooding the chicks much of the time and the feeding cycles are certainly not at the frequency of their 14 day old cousins. I made a slight camera change in this video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

May 2  Still Wrong - Chicks remain in Nest 1 despite Parental tactics

The fifteenth day was still not charm on Nest 1. I was sure they would go today and I believe so too were the parents, but the hatchlings did not elect to become fledglings today. The parents tried their tactical plan, but tough love is hard to implement. They very definitely have cut drastically  on the feeding schedule and many times they would bring in very a very small portion of a worm- offer it and then pull back and fly away from the nest. It was as if they were attempting to make them so hungry that they would follow- and it did not work .Many times the parents would be in a nearby tree, and call to the chicks and the chicks responded with loud chatter, but no takers. Then as darkness closed in, it seemed the parent Robins brought in several feedings. At this time, almost 9 Pm , it is too dark to see clearly into the nest and so my assumption is that they will spend yet another night in their nest home. Just as I am typing this , the mother returned and appears to be attempting to cover the chicks , perhaps one more time. Surely the last time---- Now the peaceful, night sounds of the male robins merge with the now faint chattering of our tucked in trio.

On nest 2 the feeding continues, and while I believe all four of the chicks are there can't verify. Will do that tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 3  Fledge Day-

Sixteen days and what do you get, another day older and out into the big world. Well the oldest simply casually hopped out and flew down to the ivy below. This happened at 8:45 AM.  The second followed after some additional faux  feeding visits from one of the parents at 9:15. Two down and one to go. But remember this one hatched, some 30 hours after its siblings and looks like to me is  very much enjoying the now roomy nest . Only one problem , not many parental visits and when they come, they bring very little. I believe it is just a matter of time  to the last one gets the message.  I was somewhat surprised by the flight ability of the first to leave. I spotted it soon after it departed nest camera range, at the base of the holly tree in the ivy, and then as I watched it from our den window, it flew right toward me and the window, and I was sure it would crash  into the window. It did not, rather it made a perfect landing on the bench in front of the window. Later after I snapped a picture or two, it flew from the porch bench back into the ivy. Of course it left me a couple of presents on the bench.  So far this looks like a successful clutch and am happy to report it being so different form the Black Snake induced abrupt ending last year.

 

 

 

 

 

For another ten hours plus our last born runt stayed in and on the nest and parental robins did bring in some food,  and then just a few minutes ago at 7:45 PM,  the last hatchling hopped away from the nest and was at last a genuine fledgling. A Robin parent returned to the empty nest within minutes with a worm for the hatchling but finding the nest empty swallowed the worm, did a little housecleaning  and then was gone. Nest empty

Congratulations Robin Parents on Nest 1- An outstanding job and a life lesson for all of us --- Good Luck to you -little guys,--and thanks for the memories.

 

 

First Fledge click on Picture

Second  Fledge click on Picture

Last   Fledge click on Picture

 

   

May 4  I have been Whooshed

In all of the excitement coming from the final day on nest 1, I had been only casually monitoring the newly hatched family on nest 2. They are now four days old, and I could not confirm that all four were OK. The camera angle is at a position which partially blocks the nest when a parent is feeding the hatchlings. So observing that the parents were away from the nest, I grabbed my three step stool, and my mirror, to confirm in person. Since this nest is about 7 feet up in the holly, I had to ascend to the top position on the stool and then hold the mirror over the nest to observe. About the time I straightened up on the top step, I was startled by a sudden blast of wind on the back of my head, and a deafening WHOOOOOSH sound, as the protective parent buzzed me.  Not to worry, Robin parents, it's only me- the old guy with the mirror. No contact was made, but it had to be close. I decided to retreat from my lofty perch and still could not determine how many chicks were there because they were all in the hunkered down, play dead , position and all I saw was a mass of pink.  As I left, I complimented the air raid pilot in the Dogwood tree, on being an excellent homeland security activist.

A little later, on one of the feeding visits, saw, via the camera,  all four heads with beaks agape and can happily report that all all the eggs hatched and the chicks are fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

May 5  Four of a Kind and a Full House

 Now that's an impossible hand but not so a clutch.  No problem counting the four hatchlings now. They have grown so much in one day that they are all now plainly visible even while sleeping between feedings. Nothing eventful, except when four or five large Grackles came too close to the nest and the Robin parents had their claws full for a while, but were successful in encouraging them to leave the area. No harm done. Just think,  tomorrow, this old/new  world will be seen for the first time as four new sets of eyes will open and behold its wonder.

May 6  Old Friends in High Places

This was the third day since the Nest 1 fledglings went out into the big world, and until today, I had not seen any of them again. But I was pleasantly surprised this afternoon, while doing a little landscape maintenance, when one of the chicks and one of the parents, (most likely the Father) flew from a holly and up onto a pine tree branch. The parent soon left and brought more worms for the youngster. No sign of the other two, but suppose they are nearby and  still being fed.  Also one of the melodious Mockingbirds driven from the environs by the hungry mob of Robins in January was back and in great voice.

Today found yet another Robin Nest on the grounds but one of the previously located nest looked to have been destroyed. I had no camera on it so have not a clue as to what happened. Only small remnants are present where the previously occupied nest had been.

Meanwhile our gang of four on Nest 2 appear to have opened their eyes right on schedule and are sleeping most of the time between feedings .Hoping the good luck continues for another week, and if so our two observed nests will have beaten the 40% odds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

May 7  Of American Robins and Kentucky Horses

Big day for tradition in Kentucky and a must be place for the big event goers who flew into Louisville in enough private Jets to launch an army. A great day here sloganed to be "the Greatest two minutes in Sports". The weather was spectacular and a long shot crossed the finish line first. Congratulations to Giacomo, to jockey Mike Smith, trainer John Shirreffs , owner Jerome Moss, and to all of those lucky enough to have bet on this 50 to 1 contender.

Meanwhile on Nest 2 the Robin Parents seemed impervious to the pomp and grandeur of the 131st Kentucky Derby and continued in a race of their own. They are just about at the mid point of the nestling phase of their endeavor. The chicks still are sleeping more between feedings than showing signs of restless activity. At times  they would fall asleep and two or three would dangle their long necks and  heads over the side of the nest , like drunken sailors after a long night .  Wonder what is in those worm happy  meals anyway. 

 

 

 

   

May 8  Mothers Day- Thank You Moms - All of You

Motherhood is so  beautiful and should not to be taken lightly. When you really think, how much depends on the females of most all of this planets species, to keep it going, it is awesome. It takes so much dedication and sacrifice on their part to guarantee the continuation of life and how better demonstrated to our children, than the abundance of Robin's nest, available in such wide Continental population areas, for easy observation. Perhaps it is not merely by chance , that this is so. Rather an intended teaching tool arranged by the Giver of Life.  Happy Mothers Day -

Nest 2 hatchlings spent their eighth day of existence with a little more animation than yesterday. Lots more pruning and beginning to exercise their wings and the earthworms continued to be delivered by two very busy parent Robins. Temperature was warmer today reaching the 80's and the huddled chicks are feeling the heat. Several times this afternoon, one of the parents stayed on the sun side of the nest, providing shade and cooling the chicks. Plenty of sleeping too as the nest time begins to grow short.

What a Spring this has been, tonight finding yet another nest in yet another holly. This time the mother is a female Cardinal and while I am very glad to find it , it is almost in the exact spot that the nest tragedy occurred last year with the Black Snake and about the same time in mid May.

Tonight also had a rare treat at dusk, while watering some of the flowers, near the Hummingbird feeder, suddenly right in front of me were two of the miniature Ruby Throated birds. Most of the time I would have expected that it was two males fighting over the territory, but this time it was a male and a female, putting on an aerial frolic, no further away from me than three or four feet and while tumbling in air they actually went through the water spray several times. They proceeded to the rear  of the yard and the female went into a hemlock while the male made several wide arcs in front of it like a pendulum swinging. Lost track of them in the darkness, but hope that was a mating ritual. Would very much like to put an X10 on a hummer nest.

 

 

 

 

 

   

May 9  Robins 4 - Cardinals 3

The Cardinal nest has three pale green/grey, with brown spots, eggs, in the cup shape nest found yesterday. No idea when the eggs were laid but started observing with the X10 today and caught an interesting moment when the male cardinal brought food to his female mate, while she was on the nest. Some real Cardinal talk here.

The nine day old Robin chicks on Nest 2 are beginning to whoop it up and if they are not careful, might just flutter out of the nest a few days early.

 

 

 

 

   

May 10  Promontory Point Utah and the Golden Spike 1869

One hundred and Thirty Six years ago today,  the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads met up to complete the transcontinental railroad and the Golden Spike was driven completing the three plus year project. We human kind have changed much since that occasion but the Robin nests and the Cardinal nests are just as they were then  and the whole repeated cycle practiced by all of those bird descendants is still the same, producing and caring for the  next generations in exactly the same way. Many of the Robin reports from this time frame can be read at

http://birdsbybent.com/ch31-40/robin.html

 

So today our nest 2 hatchling participants are 10 days old and soon to be ready to take their place in the perpetual endeavor. Exercising activity has increased substantially and the nest is quite filled with this writhing mass of spotted breasted juveniles

The Female Cardinal, meanwhile, continues to incubate the three eggs on yet another unusually warm Spring day. The male brings food to her several times.

 

 
   

May 11  Green Eggs but no Ham

The Female Cardinal demonstrates another of her duties to insure her chicks hatching. Many times today she turns the green spotted  eggs, and moves them around in the nest. This is necessary to keep all parts of the eggs at the same temperature, and also to keep the  embryo from sticking to the shell.

 

 

 

A very hot day with temperatures at 85 degrees plus, and the crowded nest 2 foursome is feeling the heat. Lots of fast breathing, with beaks agape and all four attempting to stand and exercise their wings, and those worms just keep coming in. While it took a full 16 days for the nest 1 three, to fledge, I find it hard to believe that this group can stay in the nest another four or five days without at least knocking one or two out of the nest. This is  their 11th day. We shall see

 

 

 

 

   

May 12 Turning Worms into Robins

Perhaps, not truly scientific, but by my fuzzy math, all you need to produce a Fledgling Robin in about 15 days is somewhere between 500-600  earth worms. This would amount to roughly 35 per day for each individual nestling. Some basis in fact would appear logical, as I have personally observed, via fast forwarding, up to 140 food delivery trips per day. A further observation is that all nestlings do not receive food on each trip, and mostly only one seems to get the lions share on each visit.  Extrapolating four robins into 140 trips and with an assumption of one only per feeding , admittedly  not substantiated by me, yields the 35 per day and 15 days of this results in my approximate conclusion.  Or not. One thing I can say with observed basis, is that earthworms were the 99% food choice in both of our Robin Nests.

At any rate this day 12 of the Nest 2 nestlings was no exception with the food delivery coming fast and furious, at times the parents were almost in each others way as today's video indicates.  No disasters of any kind that I can tell with our birds under scrutiny, as no predators invaded, and none were pushed or fell out of the nest. I do believe that the second nest in the rear yard might have been invaded since the nest is now empty and I do not believe that the birds there were ready to go. If so this would mean both of the unobserved nest were unsuccessful, leaving us with a possible 50% success rate. If these Nest 2  birds make it to fledge, then we would be very close to the 40% rate published in many forums. 

The female Cardinal continues to incubate and no hatching activity was observed today.

 

 

Click on the pictures in this column for the WMV videos

 

 

   

May 13    Friday  the13th -not a curse for these birds - Close but no cigar

Several times today, it appeared that at least one of the nestlings, decided it was time to explore. At first appearing to fall over the side of the nest then later finding it self on the outside of the nest and seemingly  enjoying the freedom. It was short lived though, as one of the parent robins returned in a huff and forced and seemed  to order the chick back into the nest. It appeared, that the parent knew it was not yet time to go. Later at dusk, one of the chicks with no parent in sight, actually flutter flew out of the nest and on to the camera platform. The three siblings looked and sounded as if they were cheering and then without intervention, the explorer returned to the nest and all quieted down as the darkness settled in. Tomorrow is the 14th day and these birds are likely to fledge at any time now.

No hatching yet on the Cardinal nest.

 

 

 

   

May 14    Time to take the Fledge

Nest 2 Maybe it was the heavy downpours during the night, that changed the attitudes of these parents. Yesterday they escorted the wandering hatchlings back into the nest as if to say , this is not the day. This morning all four drenched chicks stood on the rim of the nest and pleaded to be fed, but the parents began using the faux feeding con  game trying to coax the chicks to follow. This action was to show up with little or no worms, and go through the motion of feeding, and then quickly leaving the nest. The bewildered chicks seemed to be puzzled by this and then the first of the four decided it was time to fly and simply raised up and flew from the nest. This was about 9AM on this very wet Saturday Morning.  After the first one left , the parents returned together and at first seemed alarmed that one had gone, appearing to count and look for it in and around the nest, then both left without feeding the remaining three. At this time at 10:30 AM repeated coaxing attempts by both parents have not been successful on the remaining chicks. The Video sound is muted due the rain in the mic pickup. Later it will dry out and still be functional.

The three remaining chicks stayed in the nest until late afternoon and then one by one followed their more adventurous sibling out into the big world. We had several more showers and one of them a really heavy downpour at about 3PM . At this time three chicks were still in the nest and Mother once again, and for the very last time, provided an impressive shield against the driving rain. There are many touching moments to me as I have reviewed these daily Videos from the nest, but this one seems to be the best example of the dedication, responsibility, commitment, sense of duty, and as we humans like to think, Love and devotion, these and most birds and animals have for their young. There was just something about these last moments in the downpour, with her chicks and the way the rain on the lens framed and seemed to artistically amplify these virtues, that made me feel happily sad, if that is possible.

And so our two Robin Nests, have beaten the odds and have resulted in a contribution of seven new birds to brighten our collective existence. And to continue the happy thoughts, one of the two, Robin Nests in the rear, which were not monitored and I had previously thought ravaged, upon re-inspection, found two hatchlings which are likely also to fledge today or tomorrow. Now this makes  three out of four robin nest successes and as they say "three out of four ain't bad".

Congratulations Robin Parents on Nest 2- Another outstanding job and a life lesson for all of us --- Good Luck to you - Four little guys,--and thank You for the memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

May 15    The Redbird Sings a Happy Birthday Song

Is this a great world or What? Well I know it should be Happy Hatchday but frankly the spell check doesn't like it and neither do I. At any rate on this Sunday Morning the first of the three Cardinal eggs has hatched, and already the Male and Female Cardinal are doing their thing. When she leaves for only a minute or two, he is there to guard the nest, and then brings her food, seeds I think,  I expect this diet to be mostly  insects, seeds, caterpillars, Mayflies, and Green worms. Earthworms probably are not to be a part of this diet.

In this video, the male brings food  to the female prior to hatch, then the female assist the first hatchling into this world, consuming and removing the shell and then the male returns to see what they have made together.

 

 

 

 

   

May 16  Oh  Brother Where Art Thou

My expectations of a three cardinal nest have yet to be realized. First chick hatching was now well over 30 hours ago and no indication of any further hatching activity on the remaining two eggs. Not sure yet if this is an ominous event or just so in my worrisome demeanor. Parents do not appear as yet to have the same concern, as incubation continues in parallel  with brooding of the first hatched. The male has  brought in food and delivered it to the female on the nest, as well as delivering  directly to the first hatched. This large size video shows some of his activity.

Click on any picture for the video

   

May 17  Never Give Up Never Give Up

It worked for Winston Churchill as these words bolstered the English spirit and the people came through very difficult times when it looked very grim indeed. While our parent Cardinals seem to have that attitude, my own optimism is waning as the hours and now days pass with the  two un-hatched eggs showing no signs of life. Since this is my first observance of a Cardinal Nest, I admittedly do not know what to expect, or what is normal. The parents are feeding the one chick on a seemingly leisurely schedule. Perhaps they are trying to control the growth rate of this one who now has a two day head start on potential siblings. In this video, the chick is seen in the nest with the two un-hatched eggs and the male brings in food to give to the female, and then both feed the chick..

 

 

 

 

   

May 18  Que sera, sera

Perhaps, with the outstanding success of the two Robin nests, and seven fledglings,  I had begun to think that all would be well on this Cardinal Nest. There is however, good news and bad news. Our lone hatchling is now three days old and appears to be fine but the other two eggs, show no signs of hatching . It appears though that the mother still has not given up and I am not quite sure what those despair  signs would even be. She still spends a good deal of the day on the nest, and I am  not sure if this is incubation or just brooding the lone chick. Other question is- will they allow the two potentially dud eggs to remain in the nest till Fledging of the chick or will they somehow extract them  from the nest. Or yet, is there still a chance of hatching. ------ One potential sign of perhaps reality setting in, for the parents, is an increase in feeding frequency, to the chick. It usually follows the same pattern - the male will bring food and transfer to the female, who then feeds the chick. The male, will on occasion feed the chick directly but this is not yet the norm.

May 18-Afternoon   -   I Never Promised you a Rose Garden

The Longest day.  What started out to be some concern about two un-hatched eggs this Morning, has turned into a bitter struggle for our Cardinal Hatchling. I had resolved to try to remain aloof and watch the Nature story unfold, but unfortunately have become an intricate player in this drama. All was well when I changed the tape in the recorder at 4:30 PM. Later after Dinner and about 5:30PM I checked the monitor and to my horror, saw only one un-hatched egg in the nest. The hatchling and one of the un-hatched eggs were gone.  Of course I was sure that the Serpent had struck again and went outside to the nest area to look for the snake. Lesson one here, is about jumping to conclusions, when enraged. I was and did, but found nothing. Then I began to review the tape in the recorder and discovered the real predator which is a female Cowbird as shown in the Video. The second video shows the male Cardinal returning to feed the hatchling and finding the nest almost empty.

This is not Over-------------------

I did some research on that bird, from several  books and the Internet and believe strongly that it is a female Cowbird. While I could find plenty of information regarding the parasitic behavior of these birds and of their  removing eggs and chicks of songbirds, usually to deposit their own for the songbirds to raise, I could not find where they actually consumed other birds. I thought maybe, just maybe, the bird just extracted the hatchling and it might be out there somewhere. So after an elapsed time of more than two hours, I launched another search, this time not looking in rage for the snake but rather some sign of our helpless Cardinal Chick.

What led me there to that spot, is perhaps for the reader to ponder, as I have my own ideas, involving ninety and nine and  eye on the sparrow,  but I found the little bird almost instantly at the outer edge of the tree line in soft mulch. I expected the worst possible injury or mangling but was joyfully surprised to find it looked remarkably well. When I knelt to inspect, it raised its head and opened its beak in so familiar a fashion. I donned a pair of latex free sterile gloves and  cupped it in my hands. It was so tiny and so fragile but so very much alive, and as I spoke, it kept raising and begging for some morsel. I was, to say the least, and perhaps inexplicably, well,- happy. I took it into the house to show my Wife the miracle, then returned  placed it in a small aluminum pie pan, drug out the ladder and then reached in and returned the bird to the nest.

Of course the next big thing was, would the parents return and continue feeding. I did not have long to worry about that , as within 2 minutes of its repatriation the male returned and gave it food. Shortly thereafter, the female returned and settled in over our now very lucky bird.

That should have been that - but this day was not yet over------------

Just when you think it safe to go back ---well you know--It never really is for sure. Thinking we perhaps had beaten the odds for the day on chick saving, I saw on the monitor in my office, the violent shaking of the holly tree and nest. Just as I was about to stumble down the steps I saw that face almost in the nest, I was yelling Noooooooooooooooooooooo as loudly as I could as I reached for the front door latches and when I arrived at my front porch destination it was gone, from the nest,  but behind the shrubbery, and my foot stomping and yelling sent the feline encroacher back across the street from whence it cometh. I assumed I was too late, but back inside was so relieved to see that little bird still on the  TV screen.

"One more day", as the Le Mis lyric says, that is all that we have, but as darkness rendered the X10 camera of limited use, the last glimpse I had was of both parents at the nest feeding the chick.  and Tomorrow -well that is another day.

 

 

 

 

Click on any picture for the video

 

 

 

 

 

   

May 19   Zip A Dee Doo Dah - My Oh My What a Wonderful Day

Well, we needed a respite day and were granted one. Today was wonderfully normal. At least insofar  as bird nest normalcy is to me. There were no intruders, of any kind to threaten the much maligned hatchling. I was worried for a time that one of the legs on the little guy, did not appear to be quite right, but later I think I observed that it was using both legs to push up and receive the food. I am reserving judgment on that for now as I would be quite surprised, if some damage was not sustained, from the very rough treatment rendered by yesterday's  invading Cowbird.

I have a feeling that our parent Cardinals, have, shall we say, grown up a bit since yesterday and are acting with more responsibility. I have been frankly a little critical of their behavior yesterday, feeling perhaps, that they stayed too long from the nest on several occasions. Especially following the Cowbird episode. It was at least 25 minutes, per the tape, after the chick was pulled from the nest , before the male returned. And neither were around when the cat threatened again. Of course I realize that they would be no match for the cat , still------ Today they have been much more active in feeding their only hatchling, and being in and around the nest much more. I believe they now realize that other egg, whatever the origin, will not hatch.

Storms this afternoon and this evening, provide yet another test for our now endeared threesome and as darkness comes early with the thunder, wind and rain, mother is shielding the little one and father keeps coming in with the green worms, passing them to the mother, who in turn completes the delivery. Four days old today.

 

 

Click on any picture for the video

 

 

 

   

May 20   Staying Alive Staying Alive -Help me make it through the night

An early Morning check revealed that the Cardinal threesome made it through the  waves of storms and torrential rains that passed through this nesting place throughout the night. So today the lone Cardinal hatchling is five days old and eyes are not yet open. If similar to the Robins, those eyes should be open tomorrow and I am hoping that there is no Cowbird inflicted damage to the eyes, as she gave our hatchling two or three savage pecks to the head when extracting the chick two days ago.

Things certainly appear normal with the action of the parents, having changed to concentration on the hatchling and now appearing not to have any interest in the dud egg, still in the nest. I would have guessed by now they would have somehow removed the un-hatched egg but it is beginning to appear like it will remain throughout the nesting.

I saw today four or five juvenile Robins, in and around the nesting hollies of both clutches, They are pretty much adult size now, but still with the spotted breast, and still being fed by a parent, most likely the males. Due to the proximity and the number of them, I feel fairly confident that they are our magnificent seven.

Today, the frequency of feeding visits from both Cardinal parents has greatly increased and today's video shows some of that activity.------.

 

Click on any picture for the video

 

   

May 21   Oh! I See

Day 6 of life and eyes look now to be open as another full day with no threats to our little hatchling. Away for much of the day, but with the tape rolling to catch any eventuality, and very much relieved, upon our return to find the nest and little one unscathed. The chick is growing so much, the un-hatched egg, still in the nest,  actually looks to be shrinking. HA. Feeding cycles continue, with the male actually doing most of it and when the female is at the nest when the male brings in food, appears to want it to be given to her, for the transfer. In this video sequence, the male ignores that and feeds the chick directly. As the day comes to a close, the female comes to the nest and covers the chick.

 

 

Click on any picture for the video

 

   

May 22   Seven still a lucky number for this chick

Another great day for this lone Cardinal hatchling on this seventh day of life. The object of much attention from its parents  and sharing it with no other, as the remaining dud egg, still lies silently in the nest. I have noticed that the male makes most of the feeding trips to the nest. I would estimate from 8 or 10 -1 more frequent than the female. When the female returns to the nest, she is likely to stay in the nest area longer, sometimes just sitting on the branch for up to 15 minutes or so. She does more pruning and preening of the chick and still sometimes covers the chick during the day, and always during the darkness. Another observance, is that the male always approaches the nest from the back side,  from the camera point of view, while the female always approaches from the camera side and is likely to shield the feeding from the camera. With each passing day this chick grows in size and strength and wing feathers are now discernable. 

 

 

 

   

May 23   Monday, Monday--Every Day a Gift

It has now been five days since the Cowbird attack, and the cat-scan of the nest. At that time I would not have given these five days much of a chance, but as the chick grows, I feel now  much more confident that the Cowbird return has become less of a threat, as well as a possible Black snake attack also diminished. The Cat is a different matter indeed, and if that wandering black and white, remembers where it was, and returns before fledge time, then I think we would all be powerless to prevent it. But then -- One Day at a Time- and  as I told my wife, someday that hatchling Cardinal will sing a song for us.

Meanwhile on this the Eighth day, the parents keep up the feeding routine, but still to me does not seem as intense as the Robin schedule. Of course with only one chick, guess that would make a difference.  Still a lot of naked skin but today beginning to see the signs of growing up. Beginning to preen its feathers, and exercise legs and wings. Mother still broods the chick on the nest for fairly long periods of time and both Mom and Dad keep the gaping beak filled but never satisfied.

 

Click on any picture for the video

 

 

   

May 24   Is it real or Is it -------------

Ninth day is pleasantly uneventful although not yet quite over as I am making this entry. Our Cardinal (I hope) chick is now covering almost completely the interior of the nest allowing only an occasional glimpse of the remaining dud egg. If the Fledge time is comparable to our Robin Nest, then we should be just about there by the Weekend. Cooler today and the female spends a lot of time brooding the chick. The male , is the true hunter, gatherer and keeps the insects and worms coming in. Sometimes he transfers, food to the female, but many times he seems to want to feed directly. In these cases, the male and female, almost appear to have slight disagreements. I still have some concerns as to injury, to our chick when it was so rudely removed from the nest on day 3, and then occasionally I wonder if there is any chance that our chick is a Cowbird plant. This cannot be determined yet from the color, but I believe if  it were a Cowbird, it would be much larger by this time. NOT. Cant' be!!!!!

 

 

 

 

   

May 25   The Very Last Cardinal Nest Day -The Curse of the Holly tree

There was something ominous about this ill-fated nest from the beginning. Only one of three eggs hatched at all, and I felt perhaps these parents did not feed the one hatchling as much as they should have very early on. Admittedly my expectations are based solely on my observances of now four American Robin Nests, via daily Video reviews. So Cardinal behavior from a nesting standpoint has been  a new experience. I theorized, that the parents, were confused by the un-hatched eggs insofar as perhaps, feeling that they were still in the incubation mode and somehow trying to manage the fledging time for all expected birds, by delaying the growth of the first. Another possibility is that the chick was ill from the start and of course the third explanation might be due to injuries sustained from the Cowbird attack. What ever the reason, most research documents, indicate that Cardinal young fledge in about 10 days and by any stretch our little hatchling, was nowhere near being able to hit that target, with the stunted size and lack of feathers and down covering as of today.

Maybe this particular nesting place is cursed with the spirit of the serpent, which devoured the Robin hatchlings, in almost the same spot, and very close to the same time last year.

Actually I am sure there is a more scientific and natural explanation.

The female stayed on the nest with the chick all through the darkness, but feeding attempts did not start until well after sunup. The male did make a couple of feedings which seemed almost normal, then when returning with food, the hatchling did not raise (rise) up as normal, and the parent had to actually nudge and coax the little one to get its attention. Then despite several attempts to insert food, the chick was unable to swallow it and appeared to be choking. After almost 10 minutes of this the Male gave up on that attempt. Several subsequent attempts also proved fruitless. The female returned two or three times and would appear to brood the chick, then try to stimulate it. Finally about 2PM I saw the chick move for the last time, then the female covered it on the nest for perhaps 30 minutes. When she left that time, she left the lifeless little body in the nest still beside the one un-hatched egg.

The male returned 5or 6 times in the next two or three hours and seemed bewildered by the status of the now quiet nest. Now our little Cardinal will never leave the nest as I buried the complete nest between two boxwoods and in a cluster of River Ferns. It just seemed the right thing to do and lest you are thinking perhaps a bit dramatic ---also the sanitary thing to do.

 

 

 

 

Click on any picture for the video

 

 

 

 

   

Summary

When I started this project on April 8, it was my expectation that I would try to complete one successful Robin nest log as I had set out to do in 2004 and which was cut short by the Black Snake.

Did that with the first nest of three, and then a complete log from nest building to fledge on a second four hatchling nest.  The Cardinal Nest was spotted and I just had to try.  Actually it seems a "hard knock life" for the little ones, and like all the books say, many don't make it. So hooray for the perseverance of those feathered song makers, who keep our world a better place by overcoming the odds and keeping the music alive.

 Watch A complete nest  video saga in this 10 minute video 11meg

 

Finis

But

Continued anew in The Wildlife Diary 2006

And

 

 
   

A new and current Robin nest undertaking  is in progress with four eggs. three of which have hatched as of  May 6, 2007. Click on the picture to go to the 2007 Journal for daily updates and Videos from the nest.

And now

The 2008 Journal Two Robin Nest that end Tragically .

 

Follow the latest Robin Nest Story on the Spring page of the Howpeg 2010 journal

Winter  Spring  Summer  Autumn

 

 

 
   

 

Wildlife visiting our Louisville Kentucky Backyard

scroll and click for each bird or animal video, sound and or picture

 

 

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