Saturday, July 30, 2011

Newest Baby Robins: The Second Clutch Fledges

While we were on vacation during the beginning of July, our son called to tell us that the mother robin had been flying in and out of the nest. Curious, he checked and found three new bright blue eggs.

We returned home on July 7th and by the time I got out to check on the eggs, dusk was falling and the mother robin was perched on the patio chair, waiting to go to the nest, so I opted to wait until the morning to get a photograph.

The next morning, to my surprise, the babies had only just hatched, three tiny little bald babies snuggled together in the next.

The tiny pink babies, shortly after hatching.
We photographed them nearly every day, capturing the subtle changes as they rapidly grew in size and quickly developed a fullcomplement of feathers.

Within two days the ir pink skin has developed color where they well soon sprout feathers, and more feathers are sprouting on their heads and tails.

 By this time, the mother robin was so used to us, she would fly from the nest and perch close by on the trellis or a chair, but she seemed much more comfortable with us than she had, earlier in the spring.

Mother Robin flying toward the trellis that is about 10 feet from the nest. I was amazed at the detail I was able to capture.
We had some lawn signs on a table next to the screen where the nest is. I was photographing not just her babies but all of the flowers in the yard and she flew over and sat quietly on one of the wooden sign stakes, not three feet from me.
Gradually, they got larger and larger, sprouted more and more feathers, and they frequently sat with their heads up and out of the nest, waiting for their mother to bring food.

At less than a week of age, they have developed a fair number of feathers and more than quadrupled in size.
Waiting for mother to bring more food.
Their color is fully developed and feathers are gradually covering them. I love the wispy tufts on his head.
The mother was very attentive. We never saw the father robin this time around.
Feeding her babies. Because we knew she was alone with no father to help with food gathering, we left sunflower seeds for her in the bird feeder, which she seemed to enjoy.
I was so hopeful that this time, I would get to see the babies take flight for the first time, kind of like a baby taking his first steps. I had missed the first clutch by hours, but with my friend Blaine visiting from Texas AND two pairs of eyes keeping watch, we waited anxiously for their big day.

With a full complement of feathers and barely able to fit in the nest, I knew they would be gone before long.
 Our patience and persistence paid off. We were able to witness all three babies leave the nest. How exciting!

The first fledgling readies to leave. He is perched on a clump of twigs and straw next to the nest on the screen.
The first fledgling, moments before he flew off. To his left, extending in front of him, you can see the wing of one of the other fledglings.
Here, a second fledgling has left the main nest and is next to the her brother.

When the first robin flew off, I was so startled, I didn't have time to really focus the camera. He headed straight off to the side and struck the sliders, fortunately gently, and then gradually coasted to the patio.
Although he seemed to be stunned initially, we presume from his collision with the glass, he eventually flew off into the trees behind the pond, where the mother robin was flitting from branch to branch.
Two robins left, the female (left) who was the second to fledge, and one other, the runt, who left the next morning.
The little girl flew off and landed on the patio near the pool. Then she flew in short bursts around the pool to the rose garden, where her mother met her. They flew together onto the rose trellis, and then off across the garden to the pines behind our shed. It was amazing to watch them flying.
The last baby spent one more night in the nest and his mother came back to check on him several times. The next morning, Steve saw it fly down to the patio and then head off to join the rest of his family.
The first robin family stayed close to the yard, flitting in the trees in our tree grove. We heard their busy chatter and watched them flying together for weeks. This second family flew around the yard for a couple of days but within a week, the three babies had flown off. The mother still comes into the yard and perches on her favorite resting places. I don't know if she will lay any other eggs, but we are leaving the nest alone, just in case.


  1. Lovely photos of a lovely family and how wonderful your robin was happy to have you so close, its fantastic when you can interact with your wildlife like this. It all adds up to making gardening an enriching experience

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  3. Sorry Cathy, my niece is visiting and messed up. LOL Hey some neat photos though. The Robins make me crazy though with their nesting. The babies start tearing up my mulch when they get old enough. Have a nice weekend.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  4. Wow! Those pictures of the featherless babies are amazing! I'm glad the mom has stuck around. She probably funds your garden a nice safe place to raise her babies. :)

  5. they're the cutest. i love the little one with the mohawk vibe :)

    enjoy your day!


  6. How wonderful! We have birds that nest on our porch every year, but I've never been watching "the day" of first flight! Congratulations!

  7. What an amazing sequence of photos. It's always a privilege to observe nature.

  8. I don't think I've ever seen baby birds without feathers before. Great photo of the babies waiting for food.

  9. What a joy to have been able to witness this and thank you so much for sharing the lovely photographs with us! I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

  10. Interesting photos. I didn't know your Robins are different birds to our Robins here in the UK.

  11. This reminds me so much of my wren family. I got as attached as you and was excited for every stage of development. Thank you so much for is so incredible to be a part of the beauty of wildlife.

  12. What cute picture's of the baby robins. That's nice that you could capture from the time they were born to the days that they flew off. We had the same experience with the owls again this year. They have nested in our back yard for the last 7 years. It is such a joy to see life of birds in this way. Nature at it's best!

  13. That trying to fly but falling to the ground time is so dangerous for baby birds. It's well they had big tall people watching out for them against cats or other predators. Right now we have baby robins in a nest that's pretty well hidden in the depths of a grape arbor. And now I know what they look like!

  14. Great photos and good views. I too have a robin nest outside of my office, but I have not climbed up to see the babies. My photos are blurry and barely show the little ones. Mom does not stick around if I go out, so I have been pretty much staying away.

  15. They are sooo cute! Is it not wonderful having birds nesting around the house and in the garden? I have doves nest under the roof messing up my entrance stairs but I don't mind. Lovely post.

  16. You captured them well in photos. I can sense the emotional elements in the post as I read sentence after sentence.... Great!

  17. Very nifty that you were able to capture them in so many stages. Beautiful!

  18. What a wonderful photo essay! You are fortunate the nest was in a place easily accessible to your camera. It must have been a joyful privilege to watch the babies grow and fledge.


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