Friday, June 5, 2009

4 Little Robins

Andy and I recently witnessed something pretty awesome. Baby robins from eggs, to birth, to flight, all in our own backyard. Here is a time line, for the most part, of their journey.

And so it began. After hanging out in the nest for a few days Momma robin finally laid her eggs.

After a few days of constant nurturing from both momma and papa Robin, the babies finally hatched. This is day one of life for these 4 little creatures.They have an awkward charm about them, and although they look like something from a horror movie, you can't help but say 'awww'.

Day 2 and their transformation already begins. They start to change color and the fuzz on their bodies becomes more prominent. They spend all their time sleeping, getting ready for the busy few days ahead.

Day 3 and these little guys are nothing but HUNGRY! Any small movement or sound around them triggers a symphony of open mouths, hoping for a juicy worm.

Day 4 and they continue to sleep a-lot! It seems as though they have a schedule. Up until about 6:00 pm there isn't much movement in the nest, but momma and papa robin begin feeding in the evening hours, and it's then that chaos begins. Each little creature vying for the biggest piece of the worm. They've started making little chirps by this point, but their eyes remain closed. It's absolutely amazing to see the physical transformation that has happened over the past 23 hours! Their wing feathers have started to come in!

Day 5 and momma robin didn't feel like having any visitors. It was a stormy day and she opted to keep a close watch throughout the evening. Papa robin would check in on occasion to make sure all was okay.

Day 6 and it's not hard to see that this little one, "chubs", ALWAYS gets the first worm. If you notice in every picture he always has his mouth open; Awake, sleeping, rain or shine, this little bugger always managed to get fed first.

Day 7 and the little ones finally begin to open their eyes. I love the fohawk each one of them sports, they are cute little fellas, not so alien-like anymore.

Day 8 and my presence at the nest becomes more of a curiosity for them. Each one of them with eyes now open, start to consume the nest and it's clear that they wont be staying for much longer. Their coats have continued to change dramatically overnight and throughout the day, and yes, "chubs" still has his mouth open down there in the right hand corner.

Day 9 and the nest no longer looks comfy and cozy. Momma and papa robin continue to take excellent care of the group and seem to thank Andy and I whenever we turn the sprinklers on. We have made worm picking pretty easy for them. (Yes "chubs" we know you are hungry.)

Day 10 and it's looking like a pile-on at the end of winning sports game. You have to feel a little sorry for the little guy on the bottom. "Chubs" has been well fed and it's apparent he is still wanting more.

Day 11. It's the day before take off and "chubs" has decided he would like a 'closed-mouth' closeup before his departure. Looking as though he has gained some wisdom over the past hours, it's a silent understanding by all that it's getting close to the big day.

And this is where I get a little angry at myself. On day 12, 3 of the 4 little robins slowly made their way out of the backyard. "Chubs" was the first one to depart no doubt, and was never seen again. The other 3 continued to hang out in the back for a while, spreading their wings slowly and getting used the notion of flight. I had pictures of them perching in the backyard, but upon uploading that batch of photos, something happened and they ended up getting deleted. Left behind, was the runt of the group, the poor little guy that was always on the bottom and last to get the worm. Frail but determined, he spent the next 3 days in the backyard.

On day 14, Andy and I spent time in the backyard, watching the many pep-talks between mother and child. Momma robin would pick out a juicy worm and sit on the fence egging the young robin to 'come and get it'. The young one would then run along the fence line in the garden chirping with the utmost determination. He would flap his wings with all his might and would flutter back down to the ground before making it to the top. Momma would then come down and give him comfort and a juicy worm and remind him, that nothing is worth giving up on.

After about 4 hours of watching this little one give it everything he had, and witnessing mom console and cheer him on, he finally made it. Now perched on the fence line and wobbling to and fro he made it to a lilac bush and hasn't been seen since. We can only assume that he has become strong enough to fly like the others, and go on to make a family of his own.

It was really incredible to watch! Andy and I were amazed everyday at the little changes that happened and how each one of them was so different. Also amazing was the incredible amount of dedication momma and papa robin gave to their young. Momma robin is already frequenting the nest again, and it will be interesting to see if she has another batch. I will keep you posted on what happens.


  1. That is really awesome. Nature always gives me a sense of calm in this hectic world. I think I need to take a cue from momma bird and be more patient and loving with my little ones! The one you labeled "chubs" reminds me of our puppy Jasper. This boy is a "food freak". If you're not careful he could take your hand clean off!

  2. Your photography is excellent - how about National Geographic in your future? :)
    And we loved being able to be part of this with you guys. I told Mark it was very good for me to slow down and enjoy something fun and normal again. It changed my negative mood perspective from "oh great, more bird poop for my car windows" (aren't I awful!?) to "isn't this little slice of nature and life such a miracle?" So Thank You for sharing, it brightened my days!

  3. Seen it a hundred times, but remain facinated by the transformation that takes place. Just like having kids...without the feathers. XO Dad