Robin nest INSIDE the greenhouse!

Discussion in 'Hobbies & Critters' started by John M, Aug 15, 2017.

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  1. Aug 15, 2017 #1

    John M

    John M

    John M

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    I was watering the other day and I realized that the old hibiscus tree that I've had for about 35 years, has a Robin nest in it! I usually put this plant outside in the summer and I've always wanted a bird to build a nest in it; but, that's never happened. This year, I just didn't get around to moving the tree outside. So, it remained on the bench, just about in the middle of the greenhouse.

    However, once it warms up here in the summer, I leave the back vent open 24/7 and this year a Robin pair decided to fly into the greenhouse and build a nest in my old hibiscus! So cool!

    The nest is at the tip of the blue arrow in the photos.
     

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  2. Aug 15, 2017 #2

    Gilda

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    aww how sweet:clap:
     
  3. Aug 15, 2017 #3

    John M

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    I took this photo a few minutes ago. It looks like the baby hatched a couple days ago. I guess the other two eggs have died. I've tried so hard to not disturb the parents from their egg sitting duties; but, they're very skittish and whenver I'd get near the nest, they'd fly off and berate me from the fence just outside the back vent. Also, the tree is on a rolling bench; so, it keeps moving, which must confuse the parents a great deal. Really, it's a pretty dumb place to build a nest! Bird brain! I presume that the other two eggs were chilled too many times while the parents were off the nest. I have to continue to care for my plants. I do know that once Robins have actual babies, they're much more attentive and less prone to fleeing at the first sign of danger (me). I'll be very careful and as considerate as I can be and hope that Mom and Dad successfully raise this little one to fledging age.
     

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  4. Aug 15, 2017 #4

    Gilda

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    Eggs don't hatch at same time.. Eggs are laid one a day, babies hatch at different times. The eggs will prob hatch.
     
  5. Aug 15, 2017 #5

    NYEric

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    Omlets!? :evil:
     
  6. Aug 15, 2017 #6

    Gilda

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    :poke:from someone who doesn't have usable stove surface !
     
  7. Aug 16, 2017 #7

    SlipperFan

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    heheheh!

    I'm amazed the robins haven't abandoned the nest. We once had a robin nest in the eavestrough by our garage door. The birds spooked very easily, and we had to go by there frequently. But they raised their young anyway.
     
  8. Aug 16, 2017 #8

    emydura

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    Fantastic John. What beautifully coloured eggs. Do you have a photo of the parents.?
     
  9. Aug 16, 2017 #9

    John M

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    Of course, that's possible. Anything is possible. After all, the Robins have not necessarily read the same books we have and I did find one website that said the same thing. However, I also found more websites that said incubation begins after the last egg is laid to ensure that all the babies hatch at roughly the same time and all fledge within a day or two of each other. This latter scenario is what I've seen many, countless times.

    Coordinating incubation (by starting after the last egg is laid, not after the first one is laid), ensures that the total number of days the nest contains babies (which make noise and attract attention), is reduced, giving more babies an increased chance of not being predated before fledging. Not being cavity breeders; but, being solitary nesters, the babies are highly exposed and vulnerable in their open-cupped nests, as they are on nearly every predator's dinner menu. Thus, getting the noisy babies all grown up and out as quickly as possible is an advantage and that can only be achieved if they all hatch at the same time and fledge at the same time. It's a statistical advantage for solitary open-nest breeders to have their babies all hatch at the same time and all fledge as soon as possible, more or less all at the same time. So, reducing the time there are babies in the nest down to less than 14 days, from as many as 20 days, helps more babies to reach fledging age without being predated. The sooner the entire brood can leave the nest, the more likely more of them will survive, because there simply are fewer days where the nest contains (noisy), "sitting ducks" for predators to eat.

    Possibly, in the case of my nest in particular, the frequent disturbances and cooling of the eggs that has happened may have caused one or two of the eggs to simply slow down the speed of development and make hatching a little bit less coordinated, instead of killing the embyo(s) outright. So, maybe I will find that one or two of the remaining eggs do hatch. However, Robins generally lay a clutch, one egg each day (usually 3 or 4 eggs, although I have seen as many as 5), until done. Then, they bring all the eggs up to temperature (102*F) and begin serious incubating. This way, all the eggs hatch at about the same time and the babies can fledge at about the same time 12 to 14 days later. Other types of birds that nest in the open; but, begin incubating with the first egg, nest in HUGE collonies. For example: Pelicans. In those cases, there simply is too much food (baby birds), for predators to take....so, while some individuals draw the short stick and end up as dinner, the species still replenishes and population numbers remain stable.

    There are other types of birds that typically begin incubating with the first egg; thus they hatch at different times. A lot of cavity breeders do this. Psittacines (Parrot type birds), are a good example. They lay one egg every other day and begin incubating with the first egg and then they hatch two days apart. In the case of Budgies, you can have newborns in the same nest with babies that are 10 days old. The need to have all the babies fledge the nest as soon as possible, all at the same time, is not as great. The nature of being in a tree (or some other), cavity, provides much more protection from predators to such a degree that the behaviour of beginning incubation only after the last egg has been laid did not evolve as part of the species survival strategy.

    This baby in the photo was there yesterday. So, by the time I got back with the camera today, it was at least a day old. However, if you look at the size of it, compared to the eggs around it, it is probably 2 days old. If incubation did start when the first egg was laid, this means that at least one of the other eggs should've hatched by today. I'll have a quick look tomorrow and let you know. I'll be surprised if there is another hatching; but, it'll be interesting to find out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  10. Aug 16, 2017 #10

    John M

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    Have you ever heard the term "Robin's egg blue"? That's what is meant by that. It's a very distinctive shade of blue.

    No, I don't have photos of the parents. It didn't occur to me. Robins are so common, it makes me feel like everybody knows what a Robin looks like. However, of course, that's a dumb assumption. Of course, they're not global. This is a North American species. Now that they have at least one baby, Mom and Dad still do spook; but, they don't go far and sometimes they come back to just inside the greenhouse to scold me. If I have my camera ready, I should be able to get a photo of one of them with their hackles up and looking quite pissed off! I'll give it a go tomorrow.

    BTW: For those not familiar with the North American Robin.....
    They're quite good at masonry. They build their nests out of mud, strengthened with grass and then lined with softer grass. Each nest will hold up for a season, even a rainy and wet one. Although, many pairs do build a new nest for each clutch, it is common for pairs to reuse a good, sturdy nest over and over in the same season. Each pair of birds will raise 2 to 4 broods in that nest. This year, there was also a nest on top of the light fixture just outside of my door. The first brood hatched in May. The last one, their 3rd, left the nest in early August.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  11. Aug 16, 2017 #11

    abax

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    Not fair John! You get robins and I get skunks!!!

    Hatchlings are so ugly cute with scruffy feathers here and
    there and that HUGE open mouth. Kinda makes you want
    to dig worms for 'em.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  12. Aug 16, 2017 #12

    John M

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    LOL! Oh, I'm so happy that I have Robins and not Skunks in the greenhouse!
    Yeah, there's something about a naked baby bird that makes me want to "help" it. However, it's best to leave it alone. When I was a kid and really keen on birds and bugs, etc., I "helped" a lot of baby birds that would've been better off if I'd just left them alone. 'Learned that lesson a long time ago. However, I do love watching baby birds grow up and turn into beautiful, sleek adults. I used to raise fowl as well as some cage birds. I think I'd like to get back into that one day. I've not had any chickens, ducks, pheasants, peafowl for about 30 years and it's been about 20 years since I kept finches. I think I'd like to get back into raising Zebra Finches and Gouldian Finches again. In the 90's, I had Zebra finches, Gouldian finches, Bengalese Finches, Mannikins, Diamond doves, Pekin Robins and Button quail living loose in the greenhouse from October through March each year. The Zebra finches, Gouldian Finches, Bengalese Finches, Diamond doves and Button Quail were constantly raising families all over the greenhouse. It was VERY cool! I finally gave up letting them roam free when I got tired of the damage they did to the orchids and also when I began to have an insect problem; but, I couldn't spray because it would hurt the birds. Then, I thought I was going to have to move, so I donated all my small birds to a local public aviary.
     
  13. Aug 16, 2017 #13

    Ozpaph

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    Isnt nature grand?
     
  14. Aug 17, 2017 #14

    abax

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    Some times, Ozpaph, some times. LOL!
     
  15. Aug 17, 2017 #15

    John M

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    I was busy yesterday; but, I got some more photos today.

    The baby is still by itself, no more eggs hatched. The baby is at least 4 days old; probably 5. So, I think it's pretty safe to assume the other two eggs have died, or were never fertile.

    "Mom" was not pleased with me being near her baby; so, she came quite close to scold me and I got a few photos of her. I know it's the mother because only the female broods the eggs and young. The male sometimes helps in nest building (but not always) and he helps with feeding the babies. The male also has brighter red feathering.
     

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  16. Aug 17, 2017 #16

    Gilda

    Gilda

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    Yep, gonna be a spoiled only child :(
     
  17. Aug 18, 2017 #17

    eteson

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    Amazing! They choosed a very nice place
     
  18. Aug 18, 2017 #18

    Happypaphy7

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    Good to read this thread!
    I once got close to their nest once without realizing it was even there and I almost got hit by the birds flying over my face. Phew~

    The nest was at my eye level on a fairly small tree.
    I was rather worried cats got them.
     
  19. Aug 18, 2017 #19

    abax

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    Goood mama bird! She does look a bit peeved at you,
    doesn't she?
     
  20. Aug 18, 2017 #20

    emydura

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    Thanks for the photos John. Yes, not a species you see around here. :)

    I assume it is a common garden bird? It looks more like a Thrush which you see commonly in gardens here. These are mostly introduced from Europe. I think everywhere has birds called robins but they are generally unrelated. This is an example of what we call a robin - a male Flame Robin. You won't see these nesting in your garden though. They normally breed high up in the mountains in the summer and come down to the lower Canberra area in winter.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017

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