Saturday, July 25, 2009

finishing the story


As pretty as those little blue eggs were, they sat at the top of my blog for an awfully long time without hatching. So here are the babies as they looked after they hatched. Kind of homely, aren't they? And really kind of large for babies! It was really sweet watching the mom and dad robin take such good care of them though. There is nothing like being right there when mama flies up to the nest with a worm or juicy bug and you see those two crazy waving pink beaks pop up, wide open, swaying back and forth: gimme gimme gimme!! I couldn't ever manage to get a photo of that, although I did catch it one time with the video camera.
We had a particularly stormy spring, and the spot they had picked for the nest wasn't exactly protected from the elements. After several storms' worth of watching the parents shielding the babies with their wings, we had a major storm that began to turn into a big hailstorm. I couldn't bear the thought of those poor birds getting pelted with hailstones -- didn't know if they would even survive that. So I quickly searched the house looking for something to cover the opening in the deck above their nest. I settled on a 3-ring binder, thinking I could place it over them like a little roof. It didn't want to stay in roof shape, but it did stay in place and cover the opening over their heads.
Robin parents

That mama bird STARED at that notebook while I was carefully placing it above the nest, not sure what to think, very nervous about it but unwilling to leave the nest and babies while the large human was standing so close. Eventually she decided it was probably okay, since she must have been a tad more comfortable than she had been before I put the roof over her head. Daddy bird showed up then, and the hail really started coming down. They each stood on an edge of the nest and spread their wings to keep the babies sheltered.
After the storm finally stopped, I thought about removing the notebook, but they already seemed to be accustomed to it, and I figured it would protect them from all the other storms. So there it stayed for a few weeks as the babies learned to fly, until one day I came home and they had all moved on.
I've since removed the notebook, but the bedraggled nest is still sitting up there -- I feel kind of funny taking it down, in case they come back, but I don't think they will. Still, it was kind of sweet to be a part of the beginning of a new little family.