Bird Watching

After a few years without one, we have been blessed again this year with a robin’s nest in our cherry tree. The first thing I do each morning is peek out the window, and see how our expectant tenant is doing. And usually, I see her sitting on how ever many eggs she’s incubating…she rarely leaves her post.

This morning, however, I was surprised to see the robin perched on the edge of the nest, looking into it. With as confused a face as a bird can have. It would look closer every now and again, or tilt its head to the side like it was puzzled. And I was confused, and somewhat worried that something had happened to the eggs, and the bird was trying to figure it out.

Because I was concerned, I kept watching. And this went on for quite some time, with the bird never relinquishing its position perched on the side of the nest, but still looking as baffled as a robin can look.

And then, suddenly, another robin flew into the tree, and promptly arranged herself on the eggs. And as soon as that happened, the other bird flew off.

It dawned on me that I had been watching the father at the nest. And, as Turkey pointed out, like most new fathers, he couldn’t help but look confused.

It was a funny thing to realize after the fact that he had clearly been put on guard duty, and took his job quite literally, never once sitting on the eggs like the female would, but rather dutifully watching over them. And it was just as funny to watch the female come back, and not even check the nest out before she got back to her job of keeping her eggs warm.

It never ceases to amaze me how you can see God’s design for creation at work, if you just take the time to look around!

The Great Bird Project

Ever since we realized that a robin had built a nest in our tree this spring, we’ve been working on a bird project. It’s finally finished, and I’m very proud of Turkey and Bunny for their hard work.

I did the typing for them, but they dictated everything, from the “bird word” definitions to the timeline of the birds in our tree.

They even lent their robin Webkinz to the project–one perching on top of the display, and the other “eating” from the soda bottle bird feeder we made, which is now residing in the aforementioned tree.

It was a great introduction to science projects for them, and I think we’re all looking forward to doing more in the future!

Weird Birds

When we at the zoo on Saturday, I started thinking about how many weird birds there are around the world.

Let’s start with the obvious–birds that swim instead of fly. And not swim on top of the water like ducks and other birds like them, but swim underwater. Penguins are a prime example, as are the lesser-known puffins. When you think about it, they’re just really strange to watch. When they’re swimming, it almost looks like flying, and then you remember that these birds are underwater. And they’re fast! Very strange.

Then there’s the large birds, like the ostrich. It makes sense–the idea for Big Bird had to come from somewhere, right? Sure, they’re not eight feet tall, and they’re not bright yellow, but the concept is there–birds that aren’t really “bird-sized.” And again, they’re birds that can’t fly. Bizarre.

And there are birds that are so strange, I don’t even know how to categorize them. I’m talking about you, flamingoes. They, like ostriches, are tall, but so skinny. The color–beautiful, but hot pink is not your standard bird color. And can they even fly? Apparently they can, and I have to say, I’d really like to witness that–it must be quite a sight. And their legs bend the wrong way. Which is weird enough in itself, but then factor in the detail that they are often standing on only one of those legs. Even their name is strange–it seems that flamingos and flamingoes are both acceptable spellings. Weird.

Yep, there’s a lot of weird birds out there. It just goes to show that God likes unique and oddly beautiful things!

And Then There Were Four

We’re up to four eggs in the robin’s nest now.

From what little research I’ve done, this seems to be a very average number of eggs, as most robins lay between three and five at a time.

Now we just have to wait and see if four is it, or if this robin is an overachiever, and decides to go for the above-average five!

The Third Egg

Apparently there is a lot about birds I don’t know.

Yesterday afternoon, the nest in our tree contained two robin’s eggs. And they’d been there since at least Friday morning. This morning, I discovered that there are now three eggs in the nest.

It’s not the number of eggs that surprises me…I was actually a little surprised that there were “only” two in the first place. I was expecting there to be three or four. What I did find surprising was the fact that so much time could pass in the egg-laying process. I had always assumed that all of the eggs would be laid in a short period of time…within one day, I guess. So now I’m left wondering if this is it this time, or if we might find a fourth egg in a couple of days!

Birdwatching

I have to say, I’m really enjoying having a bird’s nest in our tree!

I wish I could share a picture of the bird on her nest, but every time we leave the house, the bird spooks and flies off. The tree is right by of our front window, however, so I can see her sitting there from the comfort of our den. For some reason, I find it very entertaining just to watch her. Every now and again she stands up, stretches, (I assume that’s what she’s doing, anyway), and sits back down in a slightly different position. I imagine it does get rather tiresome sitting on eggs all day, everyday.

Earlier, another bird made the mistake of perching on the other side of the tree. I can’t even describe the noise that followed; suffice it to say, the other bird left quickly! I had forgotten just how protective birds are of their young. That could make getting a picture of the babies once they hatch challenging to say the least, but I shall try!

This experience has also raised some questions. Does the mother leave the nest to hunt worms? She must, right? Do robins mate for life (I know some birds do)? If so, where is the male, and what is he doing? If not, does he care about his babies at all, or has he just moved on? Why are robin’s eggs blue? Are eggs uncomfortable to sit on, or is a bird’s body designed so that it’s not too bad? I’m determined to find the answers to at least some of these, because my curiosity has been piqued.

I’m loving this living biology lab right in our own front yard!

There’s No Place Like Home

While I love my home, that isn’t what this is about. It’s also not about The Wizard of Oz. No, it’s actually about someone else’s home…

Our cherry tree seems to be a popular hangout. We’ve noticed that the neighborhood robins really like our front yard, (the children have named them Robert and Roberta), and apparently one of them liked it enough to call it home. The bird was even thoughtful enough to build the nest in the bottom branches, where all of the children have been able to get a really awesome view of how a nest is put together. I haven’t actually seen the bird in the nest yet, but I’m hoping if we’re really lucky, there may be baby birds at some point!