Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Robin's Life Cycle

    A few weeks ago Christopher (my husband) discovered a bird's nest in a tree that had fallen down against our side fence.  We both decided that it was a really insane place to build a nest.  Our fence is only about three feet high, and there are a lot of neigbourhood cats.  I still maintain that it is a crazy place to build a nest, but it has given us an amazing opportunity. 
 I have loved seeing the life process of a robin. I am essentially a little kid at heart.  

    I now consider myself somewhat of a Robin expert.  I know that mother Robins stinks (every time I come anywhere near her nest she flies away) .  I know that it took our eggs exactly 13 days to hatch.  I know that our robin built it's nest in a really stupid place, but in an amazing place for me to capture their growth.  It has been a really neat educational experience.


   One of our eggs disappeared from the nest.  My guess is that the mother must have tossed it, because if something stole it wouldn't it have stolen all of the eggs?  Apparently after the babies have hatched they toss the old egg shells out of the nest (very hygienic).  They are very pink and naked looking.

    The above picture was taken later that day.  They were pink with fluff.  Their eyes were shut tight.  They were just this wobbly quivering bunch of little pink bodies.  When they heard me, their immediate response was to open their mouths for food.  Riley upon seeing them exclaimed that "They are the ugliest things I have ever seen.  I didn't even know what part their head was!"

Day 2

 The above picture was taken on day two.  Their eyes are still closed, but they have tiny slits starting to open which will be I'm guessing their eyelids.  Riley does not think that they are "as hideous".

Day 3

    Every day I come out and expect to see an empty nest, and am so thrilled when I am greeted by my little always hungry friends.  Their eyes are still closed.  They have developed the cutest little mohawk.  Still not the prettiest little creatures, but they are so ugly that they are adorable.  
They are still really wobbly.

Day 4

    I'm not sure if Momma Robin is getting used to me, or standing her ground, but she let me get really close before she flew away today.  Part of me feels a little bad at her flying off, 
but most of me doesn't care, I just want good pictures of "my" baby robins.

    The babies are getting a little bigger, and their skin is getting darker.  They have few more feathers.  Their eyes are still shut, and they are still perpetually hungry.

Day 5

Like their human counterparts my robins (you like how they have become mine) sleep a lot.
  When I peek in at them they give me a lazy opening of their mouths, like "feed me".  
When I don't feed them they go back to sleep.  So far the eyes still seem shut. 
 They are getting darker in colour and more fluffy.  They look like plucked chickens.
Their eyes are still not open.

Day 6

Still doing a lot of sleeping.  Look they have real feathers.  Over night, literally they got real feathers.  Look at their wings.  They look a little like dinosaurs.  Funny, they say that birds are the closest living relative to the dinosaurs, and I honestly can see that.  Little velociraptor.  It looks like they are wearing orange lipstick.

Day 7

Still doing a lot of sleeping.  My little babies are much darker today.  They have a lot more feathers.  I am surprised, but they make absolutely no noise at all.  I keep listening for peep peep, but nothing.

Day 8

Their eyes are open!  They got a lot more feathers and are beginning to look like birds.  
It's funny but they still don't make any sound.  If I were a betting girl, which I'm not, I would say that it's to keep them safe from predators.  If they make noise something might hear them, and eat them.  The parent robins are a little more protective of them now.  Only a little.  They wait longer before jumping off the nest, and now they just go up a few branches and squawk at me, they are so brave.

Day 9

The robins are getting so big.  I'm not sure how all three of them are going to stay in the nest.  I'm having to take my pictures from a little farther away now.  They are nervous now when I come too close.  They try to sink down as low as they can in their nest, like they are hiding.  It made me feel badly so I have vowed to give them some distance, even if it does mean not as good pictures.

Day 10

They are getting more feathers every day.  They look more like baby eagles to me more than robins.  There has been a lot of activity with both mother and father robin bringing them food almost constantly.  The babies still don't make a peep still.  This is strange because I always thought that baby birds were loud, but not ours.  The other funny thing is now mother and father robin are much more protective of them.  Now when I come over for pictures the mother and father sit in the branch above me and chirp at me.  When the babies were little little both parents would take off and be no where to 
be seen when I came too close.

Day 11

Look how big they are getting.  I'm not sure how they all fit in that tiny nest.  They are so hungry all the time.  As soon as I was a safe distance back they had their mouths open like crazy.  Their parents would not come back to feed them until I was out of site.  At one point the one robin was so hungry that he/ she started biting a leaf.  I cleared out so that their parents would feed them. 
 They still are making no noise, weird.

Day 12
I went out to my robin's nest only to find only one baby robin.  "Oh no a cat got them!"  As I approached my last baby robin to take it's picture, it flew away.  I just stood there, shocked.  How could they be old enough to fly, they were only two weeks old!  You could see the robin parents guiding them through the whole process, chirping at their babies.

This is my baby robin up in a tree. He / She has patches of orange and grey on his/ her breast.  This tiny robin who I had not heard make a noise the whole time it was in the nest was up in that tree just a chirping away (I suspect it was fear, but I don't speak robin).

Momma Robin keeping an eye on her baby in the tree.

Daddy Robin sitting in the tree just above the nest watching his kids.

When my baby robins had flown from their nest I had questions.  How long do robins live?  
The general consensus is that the wild robin will live to two years if it's lucky.  Majority of robins will not make it to their first year.  The oldest banded robin lived to 11 years.

    It took those babies as many days to hatch as it did for them to leave the nest.  I sure am glad that human's don't operate that that.   Now there is just an empty nest. 
 Now what will I take pictures of every day?  I feel so empty.

A really excellent website for kids to learn about robins is 
They have great colouring pages, and great printable fact sheets.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures! Thanks so much! My class will love looking at them!