The American robins have returned to their favourite nest just outside our back door. Although everything I’ve read says that robins build a new nest for every new brood, this is not the case at Casa Hall. They come back time and again to the same nest, and don’t appear to make any upgrades or improvements at all. Clearly the literature (including Wikipedia) is wrong on this point.
We had a record early brood of robins this year — the first egg was laid on April 20, three chicks hatched two weeks later (the photo of the three speckled chicks in the nest was taken May 13), and all three fledged on May 18. I didn’t notice a male around feeding the chicks this year. From my observations of the comings and goings at this nest over the past 7 years there’s a wide range in how much of a role the male plays in the feeding.
(Previous robin family stories can be found here and here and here — there are many more!)
But then something unexpected happened. A short five days after the chicks fledged, I noticed a robin back on the nest! She was there again the next day and the next. I don’t know if it is the same robin — but I don’t think it can be. Mama robins normally help feed their newly fledged chicks out in the world for a couple of weeks. And it must take a while to build up strength for a new round of egg laying. So perhaps this is a sister from a previous year’s brood (my assumption being that the robins nesting in this nest were also raised in it).
We’ve had two broods in one summer before (and American robins are known to sometimes raise three) but we’ve never had two in one month!
I’ll update this post in a few days with more news. I need to enlist the help of my taller husband to get a photo inside the nest to see what’s going on.
UPDATE June 1: Sure enough there were four new eggs in the nest when we checked. Pretty sure the first chicks hatched today — a muggy warm day in the low 30°s.