Five things I did not know about robins

by DaniGirl on May 6, 2015 · 2 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

I wish I’d noticed much earlier that a pair of robins were busy building a nest in our porch light fixture. The top of the fixture had blown off in an autumn wind storm, but since it is in an area protected from the elements, I really didn’t stress about replacing it. Then one day I noticed that someone had been busy and built an entire house in just a few days.

My first inclination was to leave it. A little birdy had worked hard to build a home for his family, and far be it from me to tear it down. What if there were already eggs in it? I didn’t have the heart.

But, that’s my porch light. When I mentioned to Beloved that I didn’t want to disturb the nest, he expressed concern that (a) dried grass and electric current do not mix and (b) even a compact fluorescent light would probably throw off enough heat to cook those poor eggs. Given my reluctance to relocate the nest, he did the next best thing and put a reminding piece of tape over the light switch inside. Good thing I never got around to installing that darkness-detecting auto-on light fixture!

Daddy robin is not terribly pleased with all of our coming and going right under his nest, and he has given me a few lectures for reposing on the porch swing when it’s too close to his nest. I’m happy enough to let them stay until the eggs hatch and the fledglings can make it on their own – within reason.

I did a little research, wondering when we might be able to reclaim our light fixture. Here’s five things I learned about robins:

1. Robins are among the first migratory birds to lay eggs in spring, and will ordinarily have two to three broods between May and July.

2. A new nest is built for each brood. (Phew!) Mama robin sits on her 3 to 5 eggs for approximately 14 days, and the fledglings leave the nest about two weeks after that.

3. Parent robins clean the nest after every elimination, carrying the waste away in their beaks.

4. Only 25% of hatchlings survive the first year. (Seems like a lot of effort for a not-very-high success rate!) A robin’s life span is approximately two years.

5. When you are reading Anne of Ingleside out loud to a 13-year-old and 11-year-old boy, they will not be able to resist throwing each other scandalized glances the first time you start to read about the Blythe family’s adopted pet bird, “Cock Robin.”

So, I figure we leave the nest there until Canada Day, and then we can reclaim our porch light. I may see if I can sneak up there with my camera soon to see if any inhabitants have appeared.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chantal May 6, 2015 at 1:03 pm

When they leave you are going to want to put that cover back on your light otherwise you will have visitors every spring. I am not sure if it was the same family or what, but when we lived in Osgood we had a nest on our porch every spring. In the same place. I loved it. But then it wasn’t in our light fixture. It was off to the side away from the traffic.

2 DaniGirl May 7, 2015 at 5:39 am

So you’ll remind me to do that, right Chantal? 😉

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