About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Touching account of nesting robins

robins nestImage by Ambrosio Photography via Flickr
Last summer it was our pleasure to witness baby robins hatch twice from a nest in a tree just outside our kitchen window. We had a front row seat as four babies emerged in May, followed by three more later in the season. A fascinating aspect of their birth involved the behavior of each mother robin, and how the first mother returned to assist the second as she worked to raise her babies.

The first mother was rather large and plump with big eyes, and I was able to recognize her distinctive features. She built the original nest quickly and efficiently, then tended her brood with the utmost confidence and commitment. During a severe thunderstorm one afternoon, I watched as she sat atop the nest and spread her wings wide to cover the newly hatched babies, protecting them from the heavy rain and wind. The little ones wanted for nothing as she flew back and forth, faithfully feeding them until the day they launched successfully.

An American Robin feeding its . Taken in Munst...Image via Wikipedia
The second mother looked a bit smaller and younger as she took over the nest and laid her own eggs. Once the babies hatched, however, she did not seem to be present or feed them as frequently, and we could hear them chirping with open beaks as they waited to be fed. Lo and behold, the first mother answered their call, returning to help in their care and feeding with the same expertise she had shown before. She often accompanied the new mother, and the two arrived side by side with morsels for the hungry babies. They, too, eventually matured and took flight after so much careful tending.

It was amazing to observe such unselfish love and cooperation as each day unfolded with the miracles of nature occurring just a few feet away. And how satisfying it was to know that our tree and yard sheltered seven new lives, keeping them safe until they soared aloft to continue the cycle of new life and renewal!

Contributed to the WBU blog 
by Barbara Clark
Haslett, MI
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