by Patti Muzny
Last month the avian saga in our Oklahoma City backyard revolved around our three families of Robins that chose to nest under our patio and under our carport. I will probably never admit to the number of hours after work and on weekends that I spent watching their journey from beautiful blue eggs to fledging.
The “most-watched” nest was the one over the kitchen door, which was about 10 feet from my favorite piece of patio furniture. The offerings brought by the parent birds included worms, mulberries, moths bugs and many other unidentifiable organic edibles. There was nothing delicate about the manner in which the food was crammed down those long, scrawny, begging necks. I often wondered how those babies managed to survive without gaping slashes in their necks! But apparently those parent birds knew how to get the job done in record time.
I knew birds kept their nests clean of waste, but I didn’t realize that they often consumed their deposits. Just a few days before they fledged, after the food was eaten, the parent stood on the edge of the nest and stuck its head toward the business end of one of the fledglings. Soon the fledgling stood up and aimed its bottom toward the edge and its parent’s waiting beak. Out came the deposit and the adult bird caught it and ate it. Other times the adult bird removed a fecal sack and flew off with it.
On Saturday, June 3rd, one Robin fledged, but the other two were not quite ready to test those wings for real. On Sunday, June 4th, while we were out of town, Brian saw the last two venture out for the first time. One bounced off of the den window and the other was last seen heading across the patio and into the vegetation.
The carport Robins were two days behind the kitchen door Robins. On Monday morning (June 6th), I walked under the patio to check on them and one had already fledged and the remaining pair took one look at me, squawked and flew out. One bounced off of the wood fence and one flew into the driveway where Sam was preparing to back out and go to work.
I walked toward it so I could discourage it from flying into our garage. It seemed unafraid of me, but finally hopped a few feet over into the grass. I kept walking so I could herd it into the flower beds and out of the open yard. I slowly walked toward it and at one point it stopped between my feet. I stood there a few seconds and it hopped onto my toe. Then I heard Mom and Dad fussing and the fledgling answered and quickly hopped and partially flew over into the flower beds.
So, as of June 6th, I could hear adult Robins fussing in the yard next door, so I knew at least one or two of our Robins were still in the vicinity. The porch is just not as interesting anymore and I miss those hundreds of food flights, but I will still park myself on the patio furniture and loaf whether or not I’m entertained by my feathered friends. Maybe they will nest there a second time?