Tuesday, December 18, 2012


     Birds, rabbits, voles, and squirrels nest around our house. Last May and June, I documented one breeding pair of robins nesting in our backyard. Most of the photos and video I included here were taken from the June nest and focus on the robins' chicks. I documented the nest activity every day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
     The robins had two consecutive nesting sites in our backyard. The first, in May, was thwarted by ants and dogs (ours). Two eggs hatched from that nest. The first chick was overtaken by ants. The second chick lived for one or two days, but was killed when our dogs ripped the nest out of the holly bush it was located in (about two feet off the ground). The dogs ate the live chick and the remaining eggs.

5.23.12 Breeding pair of robins.

5.26 Our backyard. The holly bush with the nest is circled in red.
5.23 Bow becomes interested in the nest.
The nest is in the middle of the bush. 

5.23 Four eggs.

5.26 Two chicks and lots of ants, which you can't really see.

Nine days after the first nest failed, the female robin began to lay eggs in a nest located in a hanging pot six feet off the ground on our back porch (pictured below). This nest had been used in previous years by mourning doves. The female robin laid five eggs over three days. In the following weeks, four eggs hatched and at least two chicks fledged. There were no ants in the second nest, but all the birds were covered in mites.

6.4 AM Three egss layed.

6.4 PM A fourth egg.

6.5 AM Still four eggs.

6.6 AM A fifth egg.

6.14 AM Fast forward about a week.
The two robins have been taking turns sitting on the nest.

6.15 AM Robin on the nest. Movement beneath.

6.15 AM First egg has hatched, yielding first chick.

6.16 AM Second egg has hatched, yielding second chick.

6.17 AM Third egg has hatched, yielding third chick.

6.17 AM Three chicks.

6.18 AM Four chicks. You can hear one of the parents scolding me in the background.

6.19 AM Four chicks. The last egg, which you can see briefly, never hatches.

6.19 AM Bow watches the nest.

6.20 AM Three of the chicks are getting big and growing feathers.
This is the last time I see the fourth chick alive.

6.20 PM Fourth chick gets trampled. The parents come with food every few minutes.

6.21 AM The parents were just on the nest eating the chicks' poop packets.

6.21 PM Really hot day. 100-something.

6.22 AM Good feather growth. Eating constantly.

6.23 AM Check out those wings!

6.23 PM Starting to see mites all over the chicks. Bow is barking...

6.23 PM Chicks were just fed.

6.23 PM The largest chick preens often.

6.24 AM Good feather growth. I'm trying to capture mite movement on camera.

6.25 PM Mites are everywhere.

6.26 AM Robin parent scolds from neighbor's roof.

6.27 AM The first chick leaves the nest at some point overnight or in the morning and is killed. My guess is a neighborhood cat did it.

6.27 AM A second chick is ready to jump from the nest.

6.28 AM There is only one chick left in the nest. I have seen the second one running around on the ground, shepherded by a parent.

6.28 AM2 Twenty minutes later, the last chick jumped out of the nest.

6.28 AM There it is!

6.28 AM Twenty four days after the first egg was laid in the hanging-pot
nest, the last chick has left. I saw this chick two days later in a small tree
with one of its parents. The parent was still feeding it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a fun project! And so interesting to see up close and personal!