Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring Means New Life

The very best thing about spring isn't the warmer weather, although it ranks right up there near the top. For me, it's the day after day appearance of new life in all forms.  As a gardener, of course I love to see each new plant come to life and bring color and vibrance to the landscape. But I also look forward to birds returning from their winter homes to take up residence here around ours.  The bluebirds were spotted earlier this week, checking out two of the three bluebird houses we have out back.

Brown thrasher
A couple of days ago, we heard the most beautiful symphony as we stood in the backyard.  Looking high up into one of the larger trees, we saw a brown thrasher.  They have a multitude of melodies they sing, much like a mockingbird has. In fact, they are known to have the largest repertoire of songs of all birds, with over 1000 in number.

That same day, as we walked around the yard, enjoying the 80+ degree weather, I noticed a long piece of dry, dead Miscanthus grass hanging from a low branch of the Maine pine tree. The last time I saw something hanging from that tree (a little higher up), it was attached to a nest. So it was this time, too.

This was a well-made nest, dense and melded at the top with mud.

There was no bird in it, but there was this:

The color of blue was more of a light teal than a robin's egg blue, but the nest, coupled with the size of the eggs, let me know that it belonged to a robin.  Why on earth it picked the west side of the tree instead of the leeward side, or the low branch (about five feet off the ground and within leaping distance of the cats), when there were so many more protected locations in that very tree, is beyond me.

Spring is very windy here and that branch was bouncing.  Eventually, the mother robin was  seen in the nest and I didn't worry about her or that the nest might be dislodged from the tree.  She'd done a very good job of building and securing it.  But she left the nest unattended quite often.  A severe storm was due to come in and I feared for those eggs.

The next day, as we were walking around the yard with Hannah, we checked on the nest and the eggs.  As I pulled the branch down a bit to peek in, there were no eggs.  A look on the ground revealed four of them.  Though I read that a robin will only lay one egg a day, she definitely laid two between that day and the afternoon before.

We carefully placed them back in the nest - all but one, which hadn't survived the fall from the nest.

It's a myth that a bird will abandon eggs or baby birds that have been touched by humans, but we avoided touching any more of the surface of the eggs than necessary when replacing them.

Time will tell if the eggs survive and then the chicks.  It's not an ideal situation, but we'll keep an eye on them and continue to help them if necessary.


Mia Graves said...

Beautiful egg color. I hope they hatch!!!!

Linda Penney said...

lovely post fingers cross the eggs hatch

Christys Cottage Wildlife Garden said...

Yes, please keep us updated on the little eggs. I sure hope they are alright and that they hatch. I think birds nests are just facinating. I saw a Brown Thrasher in our yard the other day. They appear about this time every year and stay through at least summer. BTW...the other day I found a whole birds egg laying in the middle of the grass. There are no trees or bushes in this area. My only guess was that a cowbird had replaced it with it's own egg. I put it back in an old, piece of a nest in the garden, but don't think it will hatch.

Jenny said...

I found a robin's nest with two eggs in it a few weeks ago. She had made her nest very low to the ground as well, I didn't even have to stretch to see inside it. It was right on the main trunk of the tree & very easy for predators to access.

Within a few days of finding it I noticed the eggs were gone & the nest damaged. I wondered if it was a new mother who didn't know yet to build her nest in a safer place.

Jason said...

How exciting to find a robin's nest with eggs. Good thing you came along to put those eggs back after they fell. I hope they hatched and the juveniles are well.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I hope all of the eggs hatch! I love robin's egg blue!

Mary Anne @leafport said...

I thought mimicry among songbirds was unique to mockingbirds (one of my favorite birds). Interesting!

Mary Anne

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