Local, Nature

Renovating an old house

Bob and I have had an interesting and unusual experience in our garden! Let me tell you the whole story. Last year we watched a Robin struggle for a week to get a nest started on the slanted curve of the downspout beside our back porch. She would put up the starting twigs and they would fall off, blow off, or slide into the crack between the house and the downspout! It made us so sad, but after a few days, the nest started to take shape.

We were so excited for her, and within another few days, she had a beautiful sturdy nest that was perfectly balanced and straight even though it was on that slanted downspout. It was a pretty little nest with an elegant streamer of Spanish moss hanging off one side. Her new nest was in a dry spot that was high enough to be a safe place…smart Mama! She raised five babies in here and then she was gone!

The nest was so perfectly balanced and well-constructed after such a messy and questionable start, we couldn’t take it down. The drape of moss looked pretty, so we just enjoyed it! Then, one day a couple of weeks ago, we happened to see some sparrows looking at the nest. They actually got into the nest and sat in it, but after a bit of snooping around, they left.

A few days later, we saw a pair of Robins looking at the nest. What!? They looked and flew away…then came back, looked and flew away again. Then we couldn’t believe it. The next time they came, the female snuggled into the nest and the male sat there on the edge. We noticed a few days later that she was sitting higher in the nest, and snuggled in when she returned after a short flight. We are noticing that the male stays with the nest almost every time she leaves. He doesn’t get in the nest; he just stands on the side and looks at the eggs that are inside. When Mama returns, Daddy leaves. We will be so excited to see more babies in the nest!

Now here is our question…could this be the same Mama that worked so hard to build this pretty little nest? We hope it is because she worked so hard, but we certainly have no way to know.

If you have seen or know if Robins will use a nest more than once, please tell us. Do robins use a nest that they just find or use a nest where they hatched…I really do want to know! Bird experts, can you answer our questions!■

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