Sunday, June 25, 2006

Birdwatch: Our Growing Family

What a difference a week makes!

Steve and I went on vacation right after our robins hatched. The last egg hatched on Friday the 16th (see below), and we didn't get back until this past Thursday night. We were amazed at how much the babies had grown in just seven days! They look much more like birds now instead of scrawny, hairless pink things :) Unfortunately there are only three babies now...we have no idea what happened to the fourth :(

It's no wonder they grow so fast since they eat so much. Mama and Papa Robin have been BUSY! Our balcony is a constant flurry of activity, with the parents flying away to find food and returning to the wide-open beaks of their always-hungry babies. And ooh, do they ever get mad when Steve goes out to water the plants! He does it as quickly as possible, but that doesn't stop them from squawking and dive-bombing him.

We felt sorry for the hardworking parents, and the fact that we have to bother them to take care of our plants--so we decided to buy them some worms. Last week before we left, Steve emptied a tub of nightcrawlers on a paper plate and left it outside the door--but all day, the robins didn't want anything to do with the food supply, plentiful though it was. We decided maybe it was a little too close to the door where we come out--and they weren't quite that brave. So Steve moved the pile of worms (YUCK) to a pot just a couple of pots down from their nest. Within just a minute or two, one of the parents snatched a worm and flew down to the sidewalk.

What ensued was hilarious. Steve and I were cracking up as we watched the robin thrash the worm all over. He didn't peck it to death, he just held it in his beak and whipped it around again and again--that worm never knew what hit it! Then when it was sufficiently dead, I guess, the robin stopped and slurped the entire worm down like a piece of spaghetti. Unfortunately we had to leave, so we didn't get to see him come back and feed the babies.

When we got back and saw how much the babies had grown, we got some more worms. Steve has been rationing them to the robins three or four at a time. It's funny to watch--after he goes out there and gets squawked at, he holds up the worm so the protective parents can see, then puts it in a pot. (Notice I am NOT the one touching the worms.) And as soon as he comes inside, they don't hesitate to grab it.

We couldn't believe it when the entire first worm was fed to just one of the babies! We thought surely the parents would bite it into smaller pieces--it was huge, and the worms they typically get are tiny--but no, one hungry baby gulped the whole thing down.

I've been snapping tons of pictures through the window. They're better when you can see them full-screen on the computer, and unfortunately I'm having trouble uploading multiple pictures into a blog post. But there are a few good ones in


The Chinlund Family said...

Great pictures!!! You must be having so much fun!

Anonymous said...

That is incredible! It must be so much fun watching them grow.
Hope you had a great vacation!

Elizabeth said...

I enjoy the update. Its amazing seeing their growth. Thanks

Bethany said...

What amazing pictures!!! What a fun thing to watch. We had robins make a nest outside our door one year. They hatched right around Easter. It was so much fun to watch.