Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Empty Nest

I've been meaning to write a post about this forever, but naturally life got in the way and I'm just now going through all of our pictures that tell the story. This summer our front porch played a big part in the start of a new family, and we were honored to get watch it all unfold in front of our eyes.

One day in June, a robin showed up on my front porch and made a HUGE mess while making the poorest excuse for a nest I have ever seen. It was badly constructed-basically a few pieces of long grass laid in a line, and was an embarrassment to robins everywhere. I was in a bad mood that day and the messy porch made me madder. I pulled down all the twigs she had gathered and made short work of her "nest". I know, I know. It was a horrible thing to do. Well, this robin was a girl after my own heart, because not only was she not dissuaded from building her nest, but she decided to prove herself to me and built the cutest little nest I have ever seen. It was quite incredible watching her bring all of her materials and stomp on them to make them into a nest. When she was finished, it was as if she had bought it in a store, it looked so perfect.

Laura was thrilled with this development, and I couldn't very well go and remove such a nice nest, so we figured we were about to watch nature at work. And we were. From what we (and by we, I mean the Army Man who was the only one brave enough to climb onto the porch railings to look) could see, she laid 4 eggs. One day in July, the Army Man called me on my cell phone to give me the exciting news...the babies were here! Three of the eggs hatched and two babies lived. It was simply incredible watching the bird's development first-hand. Our kitchen window looks out onto the porch, and basically any time we went into the kitchen, we would look out onto the porch to see what the babies were up to. They were noisy and always wanting to eat. The problem was that the second the mom saw us through the window, she would fly off. We all tried to be cautious, but we were constantly scaring her off.
As they got bigger, they got bolder. They started checking things out, to Laura's great delight.One of them in particular was always giving me a heart attack, acting like he was going to fall out of the nest, or attempt flying on his own.
Then one day it happened. Almost 7 weeks after the nest was built, I just so happened to be pulling into the driveway after dropping Laura off at day camp when I saw a huge commotion. There were several large robins flying underneath the porch ceiling, and at first I thought they were attacking the babies. I jumped out of the car and ran over, just in time to see something tiny fall from the nest into the flowers below. The babies were leaving home! I shouted for the Army Man who happened to be home, and he ran outside. Our neighbor probably thought we were crazy-I'm pretty sure I was jumping up and down-but I didn't care. I couldn't quite tell if they were pushed out of the nest, or if they left willingly, but they both made it safely into the cushion of my zinnias below.

They flew off almost instantly, and one of them flew to our neighbor's yard, so the Army Man was able to get a picture of the baby before he flew off forever.
Laura took it really hard that they were gone, and that they had had the nerve to fly away when she wasn't there. We all (the Army Man included!) felt sad that the nest was suddenly empty, and that the babies weren't there for us to watch and discuss. It's been over a month and today I caught myself glancing up to the nest to see what the babies were up to. The nest is still there, empty. We decided to leave it in case the mother wants to use it again next year. I hope she will.


Rachael said...

wow, that's so neat. :)

Patty said...

Great pictures! Now you know how you parents felt when you "flew" away!