I'm not referring to the lead in my latest novel. I'm lovingly referring to the heroine in the spring/summer story our family has watched unfold on our very own front porch. Mommy Robin. Cue the applause for this hard-working and awe-inspiring bird.
This spring, Mommy Robin moved onto the trim/frame above a window on our front porch. In late April she proceeded to build a textbook-perfect nest that you'll see in pics I will post on my web site.
We promptly stopped using the front door and started feeling like we were watching the best new show. This? Oh, this was something a thousand times better than following someone on social media or anything else one buries their head in a screen to obsess over.
We followed the Robin family all the way through. It was humbling to see the effort, to see how infrequently she left her eggs to grab a bite for herself, and the eagle-eye she kept on everyone and everything. This bird was WORKING. She was visibly exhausted and frazzled, no mistaking it.
The gift of seeing her grow to trust our family just a little bit more than everyone else, was precious. We never overstepped our boundaries, but there is a way of knowing that you've passed a special test and
aren't seen in the same light as, say, the package-delivery guy she squawks at or flees from.
I won't bore you with grandparent-like pride about the egg sitting, the hatching, the little wee fuzzy heads that grew rapidly stronger and bigger, and Daddy Robin helping feed and squawking if other birds came too close for his taste. But, suffice to say we saw every blessed step and stage, including (teary-eyes and all) the very day all four birds left the nest and wobbled and fluttered down to the porch behind our juniper in their first flights. It. Was. Emotional.
And, friends, get this...it happened all over again. Yep. Truly. I couldn't believe it, but this summer, Mommy Robin was back and started fresh with a new nest. This time she had three little ones and I'm delighted to report that everyone is well and the very last bird left the nest two days ago.
I learned a few interesting things I didn't know. First, robins do this whole process amazingly fast. I want to say the whole process took about a month each time–maybe five weeks–from the time she was nest building to fledglings.
Second, Daddy Robin comes to help her protect the nest and feed the babies. He then helps teach the fledglings the worm-hunting, flying around safely "ropes" of being a robin. And they mate with the same bird for the entire season, and both are involved in getting the fledglings off to a good start.
Third, they are hanging around our yard still...they will likely continue to do so, maybe for years to come, the kids and grandkids (squeal). This is now their yard, too.
Lastly, they only rebuild a nest in the same exact spot when they feel they've been particularly successful and it is "just right" for them. They have the most eggs and hatchlings in spring (4 tops), then it gets fewer in summer (2-3) and they may have a third nest (1-2).
I've got our family so used to never using our front door, that if Mommy Robin wants to make this an annual "thing" we are good to go. (Pretty please!)
Thanks for reading and humoring me. I'm like an honorary robin auntie or grannie.
I hope your summer is going swimmingly, if you'll pardon the pun.
You deserve it.