Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Robin Red Breast

An Adult American Robin
Did you know that the Robin is the State Bird of Connecticut?

Me neither.

I feel like I should know that.  I was born in Connecticut.  I really like robins, too.  This is the story of my friend Donna's close encounter with a family of robins who nested next to her home.

The Rhododendron Bush
 My friend Donna lives in Connecticut.  She writes:
"Last fall I cut back our overgrown rhododendron bush pretty severely.  The last few years it had played host to both robin and cardinal nests, but with the reduced foliage, I figured that could not happen this spring."
Guess what?  That didn't deter the local birds from nesting there.

The nest
 She continues:
"Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a nest had indeed been constructed in it!  The robins had found one of the few spots with just enough of a canopy of foliage over it."  
Downy feathers were in the nest
"I was even more surprised to see that there was already a little pile of downy feathers inside!  And it was moving!"

Mom feeding her babies
Donna worried about predators, especially since the nest wasn't particularly well hidden!

Close up of mom (upper right) and babies (lower left)
"From my window, I could sometimes see activity.  Momma and Daddy Robin took turns feeding and guarding the babies.  During rainstorms, one of the adults would sit on the nest, shielding the little ones.  Even during a rare hailstorm!"
All beaks and feathers, you can just make out of the robin babies in their nest
"Day by day the youngsters grew.  At first I could only see two babies, but then I realized there was a third!  One day I thought there might actually be a fourth crowded into the nest, but I can't be sure about that."
"Hey!  I'm sleeping here!  What's with the camera!"
"Their down was soon replaced by the feathers of a fledgling, and the little guys began to get restless and flap their little wings."
The fledglings were getting restless!
"Now I began to see the distinctive mark of their species, the ruddy red color on their breasts."

Close-up of our little fledglings
"A few days ago, I peered towards the nest and found it empty!  I fearfully looked on the ground around it, but did not see anything amiss.  Mom and Dad still seemed to be around, so I suspect the kids are in the bushes nearby, having entered the next phase of their lives."
Maybe they are in the basement playing video games, Donna... no, wait!  That's human fledglings. 

Never mind!

Robin Red-Breast
"I miss the little birdies already, but perhaps they will be around this summer and back again next year, to make their own nests and continue the cycle of life."
Isn't it great that the little robin family managed to build their nest in such a convenient place for photo-taking?  Despite this, Donna said it was hard to get the photos because she was mindful that she might spook the birds.  She tried really hard to not disturb them while photographing them.

I really enjoyed hearing about this little family.

Thanks, Donna!  What a great photo essay!

Photos: D.G.Littleford Ramos

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