The Ultimate Empty NesterWhile sitting on my back deck enjoying a morning coffee and writing this, I was watching a pair of robins who have nested under our gazebo. My wife and I follow this performance every year. This time after building the nest, the female seemed to disappear which is common after laying eggs. To confirm, I used one of those small mirrors on an extension handle to view the inside of the nest. I saw three beautiful blue eggs. Then I was promptly buzzed by the male who is always close - standing guard. So far, so good.
There followed however a period of hot temperatures and lots of rain so my observations were less frequent. After a couple of days I heard a real confrontation in the next yard involving what was clearly a robin's distressed tweeting. For a week or more, I didn't see the female, assuming she was injured or fell prey to a cat.
The male continued to stand guard, dive bombing me if I got too close. He often perched on the side of the nest and peered inside seeming to be in great distress. After a few days I once again viewed the nest via the mirror - it appeared to be totally empty. For many days she has remained missing. I am never sure because we have a large yard with many trees and there are several pairs of nesting and competing robins close by.
This made me realize just how miraculous Mother Nature is. We humans could learn a lot from the animal kingdom in general. How many times have you known of a case in which a female becomes pregnant - not even a birth yet - and the male disappears, never to be heard from again? If there IS a birth and subsequently a divorce or split, the mother is still left to fight in court for any kind of support whatsoever! The female robin is even smart enough to cast out any defective eggs or chicks who don't make it. In some places this is not permitted with female humans.
So much for the sad news. Today as I enjoy my coffee, I have seen both of them bringing worms to the nest! He is not a mentally challenged male after all! She even sat on the nest for a short period. I believe that recent very hot weather meant that keeping eggs warm was not a priority and the nest is totally out of direct sunlight. So we will be able to see little mouths reaching up to be fed in a few more days, assuming that other birds or racoons don't get them first. OMG! I see two now! Will be interesting to see if there are three.
From all of this i can draw a couple of conclusions - both of them involving Mother Nature:
1. He was not at all inexperienced but a real STUD. Maybe he found a new mate. If there were no hatchlings the first time the nest would be clean enough use again. Or perhaps I could conclude that she was always on the scene, is super fertile, and laid a new clutch of eggs. It is good news either way.
2. I am definitely seeing two very hungry young robins poking their heads up looking for food! That again is M.N. at work because now I am hungry! However I have to get off my butt to go and prepare some food! At least I will have a choice.
3. Yours truly is so far gone I can no longer even operate a mirror!
Have a great day!