Tuesday, July 12, 2011

American Robin Nest

Another nest in the backyard.  This one, a Robin's nest, got very close to coming to its end as it was in our wagelia bush which I was trimming drastically this past Saturday.  Just as close was the female robin that flew out just as the hedge trimmer passed by the nest which ended up being only about 6" in from where I cropped the bush to.  It had stayed there, bravely, till the last minute.

Four "robin's blue" eggs.
Somehow what I didn't notice till editing the pictures this evening, was that one of the eggs already had a small peck hole in it (bottom right egg).  I have still to see a baby bird hatch from beginning to end.  Well, Sunday was a full day and I never ended up going back up to look.  This evening, there were already two little ones hatched, and... one was just crackin' out of its already split egg.  

Last push.


Hard hat?

Already looking for food.


Robins are a big part of the summer scene here, always hunting across our grassy lawns, tilting their heads and then straining against the worm's desperate grips on the last inch of dirt.  Robins breed their two or three broods of young each summer up in Canada and northern US before heading south again.  We see them often, and usually are falling asleep to the males singing away in the warm, summer evenings, and then having them waking us up at 4am just outside the window left open to let in the cool evening air.  Living in Southern Ontario, you're quite likely to have seen a nest as they will top your outside porch light, arbour, or many other places within easy view.

You can see the eye slits staring to develop to allow this chick to see in about 4 days.

But here are a few facts you may not have know about this common bird:
- Robins aren't listening for the worms while they're out on your lawn.  They're tilting their heads only to carefully see straight on with one eye for the wriggle in the ground as the worm comes up to the surface.  Robin's eyes don't pivot like ours.  They will "pounce" to get into the ground a bit around the worm that might only be slightly protruding to get a good grip.  They may also "stamp" the grass to try and make worms in near vicinity give themselves away and move when they feel the vibration.
- Worms only make up about a fifth of Robins' diet.  They eat lots of other insects and berries as well.
- You can tell if a male Robin is breeding if it has extra-black feathers on its head, darker than the rest of its feathers.

We'll see if the other egg will wait to hatch tomorrow morning and see if I catch it.  Not likely!


Sorry about the annoying word verification... I've been deluged with Spam comments lately and some have been offensive.