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I am an empty-nester

You hear the saying “empty nest”, and you don’t REALLY know what it means until you actually have a clutch of birds laid in a nest in your backyard which is steps away from the backdoor, which then becomes a regular, daily, family viewing activity for 4 weeks.  28 days….the kids and I have watched, photographed, enjoyed and marveled at the transition this little bird family has undergone. 

A few short weeks ago, a mother robin started collecting twigs and organizing them in a circular pattern on our deck rail, nestled into the corner of our pergola that extends upwards from the handrail.  First she laid the eggs, and we marveled at how “robin’s egg blue” is truly ROBIN’S EGG BLUE!  (See images posted previously of the eggs and new hatchlings)

The eggs started to hatch on April 20th, and 2 short weeks later, the birds are now full grown, and today the first birdling fledged (left the nest and took flight).  I find myself sad!!  Tomorrow they will likely be gone, all four of them…and I will  be left with an empty nest. 

What has become a regular part of our daily family life will be gone, and I find myself grieving my birds…how strange!

Mommy bird:

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She is so dedicated….keeping the birds warm and comfortable through all kinds of weather.  Here you can see it is pouring rain, and she is trying her best to cover her growing clan

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Since the first images I posted of the new hatchlings, we’ve witnessed some starting development.

As new hatchlings:

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A few days later:

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Growing their wings:

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A close-up of the above shot, shows how the wings develop…how cool!!!

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Suddenly the nest is getting a little crowded….

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The feeding of this clan is mostly dad’s responsibility as he brings more than 100 meals per day to the nest…some 350 or so pieces of food to the young birds.

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Within days, they grow from a fatherless little loose-skinned, transparent little creature….to this:

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The oldest bird (at the back behind daddy bird) ventured out of the nest today and perched on the edge of the handrail….spent most of the day there getting the nerve to jump off and try to fly.  She later did and was gone….

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And now there are only three….

It remains to be seen if there will be any more birds left tomorrow morning…or if they will have fledged during the night.   I am sad to see them go, but feel priviledged to have been able to witness something so fantastic in our own backyard.

May 20, 2008 - 5:50 am

Jan - Those are such neat shots!

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