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Our spring cleaning and repairs were temporarily interrupted when we discovered two robins making a nest outside our back door. They found our light fixture to be the perfect place. They got all sorts of material to make the base of the nest, including some shredded pieces of tarp that my son missed when cleaning up.
I had been aware of one of the robins all winter long. He would sit on the mirrors or top of our car or truck, leaving white or berry colored stains down the sides of the door. We called him Poopy and tried to shoo him away but weren't too concerned as we figured he would fly away come spring. Nope, Poopy found a mate and decided our yard was just the right place to start a family.
Robins construct their nest together over the course of a couple of weeks. Then the mama will lay eggs and sit on them most of the time while the papa keeps watch. This takes another two weeks. Some robins will dive bomb any intruders to the nest. Ours would just fly away, although one time Poopy puffed up his chest feathers to scare us away. We started using the back door only when necessary. If we needed something from the back yard, we would just walk around. Over time, the birds got used to us and woudn't take off unless we got very close.
One day, we noticed that Mama was sitting differently. We found a blue robin's eggshell in a far corner of the yard and knew that someone was hatched. A little later, my husband was able to get this picture inside the nest. Both parents were out catching worms so we took it very quickly and didn't touch anything. They are very deep in there but you can see the little balls of feathers.
It's been a few days since they were hatched and we can occasionally see little beaks poking out the top. They will be in the nest for about two weeks after hatching. Then, the babies will fledge and within a couple of days, they will fly away.
Robins will reuse nests if it is a good location, often laying another set of eggs as soon as the first babies are fledged. I haven't decided if we are going to lose the use of our back patio for that long. Probably. :)
This nest was built in our mulberry tree by our front walkway. We took pictures from beginning to end. What an experience for my 9 year old!
These hungry little baby robins are awaiting their meal. The 2nd photo is of the newborns napping. They were taken atop our weeping cherry tree by the porch. The parents didn't mind us taking the photos.
We put up a little birdhouse and a local robin deemed it to be the ideal spot for building her nest.
I saw a squirrel and robin fighting. I found it very odd and looked around the area where I saw it happening. Inside the bush was a mother robin sitting on a nest.
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I am so excited. I have just seen a robin building a nest on my porch ceiling. She does a little dance after she puts the twigs and grass in. I wonder why? She spreads her wings and then does a complete turn while bobbing up and down. There are no eggs in there yet. We had a bad storm last night and it knocked out the nest. There are no eggs on the floor. Any ideas on why? Thank you.
Sandy from Baltimore, MD
The female robin is probably trying to attract a male. (04/22/2008)
MCW is probably right about the mating dance. Robins will often abandon a nest if something disrupts it, like getting knockned down. But probably she felt there's too much traffic on the porch, they like privacy when nesting. (04/22/2008)
By joan pecsek
Sandy here. There is no traffic on the porch at all. The nest didn't fall down. It just kinda came apart during the storm. I have watched her build it back up for the last 3 days. This am I saw 2 robins on the porch. They didn't go up to the nest. I hope they come back. (04/23/2008)
She may even be doing that dance to shape the nest. Usually the males are the ones who do the attracting maneuvers. Since the nest fell, it will probably be abandoned as location has proved too exposed to the elements. Also may be a young female who is inexperienced in nest building. The female will not lay eggs until she has mated. She was probably preparing the nest before laying. Did you see a male around? (04/23/2008)
By Mary Lou