Monday, June 18, 2007

Empty Nest

I have been keeping an eye on the robin's nest in our yard since the three eggs hatched on June 5 this year. Last Thursday I dropped in for a photo update and found the birds alert and with their eyes open. For the first time, they showed fear of me and lowered themselves as far as possible into the nest.
Cowering in the nest at 10 days old

Previously, any movement of the shrub caused an instinctive reaching out for food. I had no idea they would develop so quickly.

I was watering my flowers early Sunday morning, the 13th day, when I noticed the birds leaving the nest. The loud chirps of the parents drew my attention to the fledglings who were on the ground near the house. They seemed unsure of what to do when I approached, with only one bird making an effort to hop away from me.
Pretend I am not here- 13 days old

The rest tried the "sit very still" approach, hoping I wouldn't notice them. My husband was very sceptical and felt that these birds had fledged too early and could not possibly survive. I checked back in about thirty minutes and they were all gone, safely I presume.

Early the same Sunday morning, The Becka left with her aunt for a road trip to Spokane, Washington. My husband and I were alone in a very quiet house. The older girls have been away for some time now, but we have never had all three gone at the same time. The years have gone almost as quickly as the thirteen days it took for these baby robins to develop their wings. It is easy to try to keep our children safe in the nest in order to protect them from a big uncertain world that is full of risks. Or we can support them while they try their wings and venture out on their own to an independent life we have prepared them for. I know these three little robins were meant to be a real life lesson for me!

This adventurous fledgling flew a short distance to get away from me


  1. A very poignant comparison Ruth. Indeed, we have to give them their wings... they'll find a way to fly.

  2. Good thoughts and comparison, Ruth. I don't think we'll ever stop protecting and worrying about our children.

    Cute Robins!

  3. My kids are 13 and 14 this summer and seem to spend a lot of time flapping their wings!

  4. And then there are those who flap their wings, take off for awhile, and decide home is the best place of all. :) I enjoyed your comparison, Ruth.

  5. Cute baby robins. I'm glad you got to see them when they left the nest.

  6. Anonymous8:00 pm GMT-4

    love the series of photos of this robin family!

  7. Oh yes, I understand the concern for our fledglings!
    I found a fledgling robin in my window well this spring--chirping away, trying to hop/fly out.
    I got garden gloves and lifted it out. It scolded me--my fault that it was there--and flew/hopped away.
    Sort of like our kids!

  8. Anonymous8:48 pm GMT-4

    Fledglings of many species leave the nest before they can fly..but the parents remain nearby to feed and protect while the little ones practice their flying skills and learn the ways of the world. Human parents aren't so different after all...

  9. Nice analogy-I hope you find some aspect of this change enjoyable.

  10. Thanks for your comments! Each stage of life has its joys and challenges. LauraO's comment is interesting. I am glad to hear that the adult robins are still likely caring for their young. I see the adults around, but not the three little birds. They would undoubtedly need some human help if they got into a predicament like KGMom describes.


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