The first day I realized that something was going on outside our upstairs bathroom window, I never dreamed of the experience I was in for. We found a bird’s nest being built onto the outside of the screening on the window. Robins had built a decent-sized nest on the very edge of the ledge. How the nest was attached took some studying. It must be a type of spit glue Mother Nature has provided to make it possible to attach the whole nest to such a small part of the screening.
We can look down into the nest, which is just a few inches from the inside of the window. Days went by and they kept working on it frantically. Being the outdoors person that my husband is, he assured me that the nest was attached well enough to survive the spot they had chosen. When the weather got warmer, I took out the window so as to be able to see the nest a lot better. But, when George got home, he put it back in, so as not to affect the life that was about to take place in that nest. He told me that soon, the mother robin will be laying her eggs, and we will get to see them. “Them?” How many are there going to be? His guess was three, and he was absolutely correct. Several days later, we counted them individually as they filled the bottom of the nest. Three beautiful “robin’s-egg blue” eggs!
Then came a week of waiting for the eggs to hatch, as the mother and father robins took turns sitting on the nest. When I saw the very first hint of a robin, it looked like a fuzzy fluff. At the next look, I could make out the beaks as they each opened when the mother bird came with something that looked like a worm hanging from her beak. This kept up for several days, and then George asked me if I could make out the wings that were just then becoming visible. Wings? How could these little balls of fuzzy fluff be starting to grow wings already?
Once the babies were hatched, there was a constant brigade, by both their mother and father, of bringing food for the triplets. Being so high up on the second-floor level, there is no fear of predators. When I got to watch them for any period of time, the babies seemed to eat and then their heads would fall down, as if they had fallen asleep. Eating and sleeping, eating and sleeping, and growing very fast now. I have thought about naming them. The only triplets I have ever known were a set I babysat with when I was in high school. They had the names of “Fluffo, Crisco and Spry.” Perfect, since these robins were each just a ball of fluff.
At supper one night, George told me that the babies will be in the nest until they are the size of their mother. I don’t think there is enough room in that nest for all three of them to become that large. But, he told me that Mother Nature has a way of working that out. I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.
I am reminded of something our older daughter said about two months after our younger daughter was born. At that time, our younger daughter was doing a lot of laughing. That caused our older daughter to say, “Now, she is just like a human being!” So, I will say the same for these baby robins, since they are so quickly taking on the shape of an adult robin.
(If you would like to see a seven-minute segment of film called “Angel Baby Robins,” put that title in your computer and search for something that was published in 2016. It is a great piece of film that is almost exactly what I have been watching over the past several weeks.)
I know the day is coming very soon now, when our baby robins will fly off and be gone. Since we just had Mother’s Day, I think there is a parallel story for any mother having babies and seeing them grow up so fast, and be gone so soon. As I sit here typing this article, I am very happy to still be getting to watch Fluffo, Crisco, and Spry starting to flap their wings, while still in their nest. But, as always, time is flying, and soon they will be gone. I hope we are lucky enough to get to see their first flight when they take off into the big world beyond our bathroom window.
As the day progressed, I kept watching the baby birds as they sat in their nest and seemed to be just looking off into the eastern sky. I hadn’t noticed them being fed recently. But, just before dark, as I was looking at them, in one split second, all three of them flew out of the nest in three different directions! They didn’t really fly, because they didn’t know how to fly yet. They more or less just glided to the ground.
“OH, NO!” I kept saying out loud. “OH, NO! That’s not supposed to be happening!” I ran downstairs and told George that they had flown away, and he said they needed another week of maturing before they could ever make it on their own, so they were gone! When I got outside, the parent birds were screeching their heads off, flying frantically around up in the trees looking for their babies. Two had ended up in our neighbor’s yard, hopping around. One of them got to the street and hopped across to the other side. Its mother was up on the electric line watching and following. I couldn’t watch any longer, because it was dark by then. I hoped this morning that they would all be back in their nest, but, I’m sorry to have to say, I found it totally empty.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.