About a month ago, our dog found three eggs in a nest in an old pot plant lying on its side in a secluded corner of our garden. We immediately closed off that section, so they wouldn’t become dog omelettes.
The next day, there were four eggs.
And the day after, five. With a robin sitting on them. I saw two different robins sitting on the eggs during that time.
After about two weeks, we found tiny naked pink babies lying inert in the nest. They were no bigger than a thumbnail. Sometimes they were there cold and alone for quite a while wating to be fed. They transformed from inert pink thumbnails to squirming pink hideous things straining tiny heads upwards, like mini monsters.
We bought mini mealworms for mini babies. I laid the worms out on a plastic gardening stool I’d put in front of the nest the day the dog discovered the eggs to stop it getting close. So in the late afternoons, to help with supplies, I offered the worms to the parents. “Kip, kip, kip. Kip, kip, kip”.
As the babies grew in their hideousness, so did their dinners. And the parents became tamer. Eventually, the Dad would pick up exactly four worms alight on the nest and stuff a worm down the gaping mouths of his monsters. Four of them.
Growing babies is hard work. We put fatballs up for the parents, not the babies. Rather like a gin and tonic at five. A treat. Something to keep the spirits up.
Believe me, there’s nothing uglier than a baby Robin. All mouth, no eyes, weedy body. But they transform!
They develop fluff, mini wings, black eyes that wink at you, and small round bodies. The nest gets really full, crushed actually, with each fat baby adjusting itself for comfort sending a ripple of adjustments through its sleeping siblings. They do sleep a lot. And in filming them, I found them hard to wake for a good shot,
Yesterday, they left the nest. When we went to feed the worms, the nest was empty and the four babies, safely reared, were in the bushes, fluffy, speckled cute things, testing their erratic flight skills.
One accidently flew into me. And clung on the gate by my feet. We were both surprised, shocked even. A frozen moment. And I was delighted. Here, right HERE, was proof of the most amazing miracle that we’d been privaledged to watch.
So from sitting to hatching takes two weeks.
In our case the father Robin also sat.
From hatching to leaving the nest takes a further two weeks.
In our case, in the beginning, the mother fed too.
So it’s done in a month.
Clever birds. Well done. You are welcome to do it again in the nesting places I have prepared for you with hope that you will. Bye bye babies, stay safe. Its a big bad world out there.
So my best advice is to stay at home, here, in OUR garden, please. Hope to see you at our bird table. We’ve got some left over worms that need eating….