When I was photographing The Butchie Boys, it was spanking hot. After I had my fill of waiting for them to move, which they did not, I moved. I went down the road to turn around at the saw mill. When I did, I saw this American robin's nest on a support post of the mill. It's on the mill's loading dock! I had seen the nest when last I checked on The Butchie Boys, but I didn't think there was anyone in residence. What drew my attention this time were these gaping, orange maws. In the photos you can see the pink feet of one of them on the edge of the nest. You can also see that they have new, secondary feathers. They are just about to fledge. The little rascals are flapping their wings and stretching out of the nest, unlike the young eagles. This is the phase where the robin-ettes are apt to fall out of the nest. They've only got about ten feet to fall and would probably survive. However, this same area, which I have called The Magnificent Acre, is where I have photographed Red foxes only feet away from this nest. I'm sure the foxes know the robins are up there and are probably waiting with drooling chops for the sound when one thuds to the ground. If I were a fox, I would do the same. If one of The Butchie Boys fell, they would have about sixty feet to fall. They, too would probably survive. If a fox thought it had an opportunity, an eagle, even a young one would give it a run for its money.
I'm so thankful that neither of my children fell out of the nest, though I was sure that they were going to. My son almost did, but grabbed back on just in time. He had his share of troubles with the law after committing childish crimes. He regrets that phase of his life and says he can't explain it; it was his way of learning to fly. Also, my daughter wrecked a car that we didn't even know she was driving. She was too young for a license and was supposedly practicing in our driveway. We were blissfully eating dinner and watching the evening news when the police came with those awful words, "There's been an accident." We were all so very lucky no one maimed themselves beyond repair on their attempts to leave the nest. These things were many years ago, familial ancient history now. Nonetheless, recalling them gives my heart a dark, hard twist, the terror of near to death catastrophe still close enough to boil up easily. I hope when birds have young teetering on the edges of their nests that it does not fill them with fear.
These are parents of the nestlings. They were being run pretty ragged bringing food to those demanding mouths. You can see that the bird on the left has Honeysuckle berries and a tender, green grasshopper. The one on the right has a mess of spiders. Below, on the left, the father has the earthworm that we've all come to expect in a robin's diet.
What goes in must come out! On the lower right, the mother is picking up a fecal sac deposited by her chicks. She swallowed it in one gulp, no chaser. We've all taken crap from our kids that we wish we had not had to swallow. Robins do this to keep the nest clean. Eagles just poop everywhere then move out when it gets too disgusting. I've had tenants in rentals do the same thing. That's another story.