Baby Robin Journal

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Day 8 - May 18, 2004

The nest seems quite crowded. I wonder how soon they will be ready to leave the nest. The information I found says that they will leave the nest at about 2 weeks old. This is the eighth day I have followed them, but they may be a day or two older than that - I'm not sure exactly which day they hatched. They don't look ready yet, but they sure grow quickly!

robin nestlings day 8

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Day 9 - May 19, 2004

I can't believe that some robins have 4 or 5 babies. These 3 seem so squished in the nest. Today, it seems like their wing feathers are a little fluffier. And their heads no longer seem scrawny looking.

On a side note, the rhododendron blooms are starting to open.

rhododendron bloom

robin nestlings day 9

Day 10 - May 20, 2004

The wing feathers are developing quickly. There is a big difference, just in the past 24 hours.

robin nestlings day 10

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Day 11 - May 21, 2004

The baby robins look almost ready to venture out of the nest. Any day now I might find an empty nest when I look. All 3 babies seemed very alert when I took this photo.

robin nestlings day 11

Around the corner from the robins, I saw this adorable chipmunk, taking a nap in a small evergreen tree near our front porch. I can't believe how close he let me get to take this photo, after which he continued to rest for a while longer.


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Day 12 - May 22, 2004

The same rhododendron bloom from 3 days ago is fully open now.

The babies are almost ready to leave the nest. One baby decided to stand on top of the another, whose tiny beak is the only part of him visible in this photo. Luckily, this made it possible for us to better view his level of development. His (or her) tail is still short and his wings don't yet look ready to fly, but he almost looks the age that you sometimes see baby robins hopping about the yard with their parents. You can just see a small part of his orange and black spotted tummy.

rhododendron bloom

robin nestlings day 12

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Day 13 - May 23, 2004 - The Last Day

Well, today was the day for the empty nest. I saw the baby robins in the area, one in our driveway and two in the grass. The parents were both around, vigorously defending them, and I assume, feeding them. Later, I looked out and saw them a couple houses down, so they are on the move and I doubt that I will see them again, at least not knowing for sure that they are "our" baby robins. It was great fun to watch them grow up. I hope they all make it to adulthood.

robin nestlings day 13

The baby robin below hopped all the way across the street, but I gently scared it back across where both parents and its two siblings were waiting. I love this photo, because he seems to be looking directly at me.

robin nestlings day 13

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Day 18 - May 28, 2004 - Surprise Backyard Sighting!

I can't be sure, but I think I saw OUR baby robins in the backyard by the pool, a.k.a. the giant birdbath (at least that's what all the neighborhood birds think). I saw two in our yard and one that flew into the neighbor's yard. I notice that the babies can now fly pretty well and that their tails are much longer. They will still have the characteristic black spots on their orange chests for a while longer. The babies waited by the pool, while the father flew back and forth, finding and bringing food to them. One baby was in constant motion, continually hopping around the pool. That was probably the hyper baby who hopped across the street when he first left the nest 5 days ago. A few days ago, I saw a female robin with some twigs in her mouth fly up into a maple tree in our front yard. She looked like the mother robin - I read somewhere that they sometimes start another family, while the father continues to take care of the babies for a couple of weeks.

robin nestlings day 18

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Interesting Facts About Robins

  1. Male vs. Female: Both sexes have an orange-red chest, but the male's is a deeper red. The male has a dark, almost black top of the head, wings and tail, while the female is duller.

  2. Incubation: The female sits on the eggs, which are "Robin's egg blue," for 11-13 days, while her mate stands guard.

  3. Once the eggs hatch, both parents hunt for insects from dawn to dusk to feed their nestlings.

  4. After about 2 weeks, the babies, now called fledglings, leave the nest. You can identify a young robin by the spots on its chest.

  5. At first, fledglings are in danger of being attacked by other animals, because they do not have their full compliment of flight feathers, which take another few days to develop. During this time, their parents watch them and continue to feed them and bring water to them on the ground.

  6. After two more weeks, the fledglings are fully feathered and go off on their own.

  7. During the breeding season a pair of robins will raise two or three broods.

  8. If you find a baby robin on the ground, do not interfere. Most likely its parents are nearby and will feed it when you leave. If it is young enough to have fallen out of its nest, you can pick it up and put it back in the nest.

  9. Food: Robins eat earthworms, insects, and fruit. Although they appear to be listening, with their heads cocked sideways towards the ground, robins actually use their keen eyesight to find worms.

  10. Life span: Robins can live up to 12 years in the wild.

  11. Flight speed: 25 to 36 mph

Sources: The City Naturalist section of NYSite and Singapore Science Centre web site

Another web site with info on baby robins: Journey North: Robin Nest Photo Study

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