We have a lot of birds flying in and around our yard. I’m partially deaf and I hear a fair number of birdcalls, but Melisa has excellent hearing and she says it’s a euphonic symphony and I’m only hearing a small part of it.
In terms of numbers, one of the best-represented birds, if not the most represented, is the American robin.
I’d love to tell you the sex of the bird but:
The sexes are similar, but the female tends to be duller than the male, with a brown tint to the head, brown upperparts and less-bright underparts. However, some birds cannot be accurately sexed on the sole basis of plumage.
Here’s another shot of the above bird . . .
It’s actually listening for worms. This is a guess based on the behavior I observe. They tilt their heads one way and the next and sometimes they do so in conjunction with putting the head lover and next to the ground . . . right before pouncing and pulling up a juicy meal.
Edited to Add: I stand (or sit) corrected . . . THIS link concludes sight is the primary and key sense used by Robins to hunt for and capture worms.
These next photos might be of a female, but because the lighting conditions change, it’s difficult to go just by the brightness of the plumage (plus, I make things difficult by processing the photos, although I try to process most photos similarly).
Before I go on, I came across this nice parody song. Cat Stevens was a favorite singer (still like his early work) until he went off the rail. This is a COVID-19 parody that is gentle rather than outright funny.
These next photos are definitely of a female since they are the ones who build the nest.
That particular bird would gather nesting material and then fly into a holly bush next to the house. I assumed she was building a nest in the bush and that would be a problem because I’d not yet trimmed it and the bush is in need of a good trim.
By the way, I held off on trimming it because it’s one of the early-flowering plants and for most of late March and through mid-April it’s swarming with bees and bumblebees and flies and wasps (can you smell a future post coming up?) and I planned on trimming it after the feeding frenzy finished its course.
Anyway, now I was looking at the possibility of having to wait another 3+ weeks.
Strangely, when I had the chance to look for the nest (curious I am), there was no sign of a nest anywhere within the bush. I have no idea why it was going back and forth in there.
We do have a robin nest in the magnolia tree in front (you might remember one of last year’s POSTS documenting the incubations and brooding), only this time it’s higher up and I won’t be able to check the contents. The robin is currently incubating however many eggs she has in there.
The American robin begins to breed shortly after returning to its summer range. It is one of the first North American bird species to lay eggs, and normally has two to three broods per breeding season, which lasts from April to July.
The nest is most commonly located 1.5–4.5 m (4.9–14.8 ft) above the ground in a dense bush or in a fork between two tree branches, and is built by the female alone. The outer foundation consists of long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers. This is lined with smeared mud and cushioned with fine grass or other soft materials. A new nest is built for each brood, and in northern areas the first clutch is usually placed in an evergreen tree or shrub while later broods are placed in deciduous trees. The American robin does not shy away from nesting close to human habitation and will frequently construct nests under eaves or awnings on human homes when such locations provide adequate shelter. Robins are not cavity nesters, and so will generally not use a bird house, but will take advantage of artificial nesting platforms.
A clutch consists of three to five light-blue eggs, and is incubated by the female alone. The eggs hatch after 14 days, and the chicks leave the nest a further two weeks later. The altricial chicks are naked and have their eyes closed for the first few days after hatching. While the chicks are still young, the mother broods them continuously. When they are older, the mother will brood them only at night or during bad weather.
We also have a couple of doves using a robin’s nest from last year as their own.
I’ll have more on robins and other birds, but for now, let me wind this up. Before I add three separate galleries, let me mention that the writers hope you voted for your favorite of the “Alphabet Challenge G-Stories” HERE. That’s also where you can find links to the stories in case you want to read them before voting (you should totally do that).
I mentioned three separate galleries, but you can also go to THIS SmugMug gallery to see up-to-full-size versions of all these photos. You can also click on the above for a larger version to open in a new tab or window.
The first gallery is the above photos in B&G&W . . .
The second gallery is of some of the above photos processed in various Topaz plugins and apps . . .
And the last gallery is of the photos in the body of the post . . .
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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