A Robin And Her Three Baby Robins

The following is a true short story.

Ever since we moved to our present location, something has happened each and every year under our 2nd-floor deck.

A robin builds a nest in the support beam rafters. She lays eggs, sits on them for a time, and typically three baby robins result from her efforts.

This year was even more interesting. This momma Robin actually built four nests! Three of them next to each other — setting on the support beam but along consecutive floor joists. She sure was busy this spring.

Three birds nests next to each other

However shortly later we noticed a new nest being assembled in the spot where we see one every year. About 6 feet further down – but on the end. The Robins must like that spot. She finally settled upon that one to lay her eggs.

After about 3 or 4 weeks I noticed little Robin beaks sticking up over the nest — waiting for momma Robin to come back and fed them. The process went on for a few more weeks until one day they were gone. I never knew if they “made it”. Lots of predators around here. Plus Blu-Jays which tend to eat young birds when the opportunity presents itself.

That was part one of the story.

Awhile later, I noticed (the same?) Robin in the nest again. It happens to be right outside the back door up on the beam. So whenever I go out that way, she flies off.

It wasn’t long and I realized she was sitting atop another batch of eggs. Sure enough, several weeks later I saw little beaks poking up over the top of her nest.

The process repeated. Momma Robin back-and-forth getting food for her young.

Just a few days ago I noticed that the young Robins were getting pretty big — and would likely be leaving soon. I’ve never witnessed the process of leaving the nest. Always wondered about that…

The day before yesterday when I let the dog out during the early morning, I saw momma Robin in the yard and heard what I presumed to be the baby Robins squawking in the trees nearby. I couldn’t see them, but I saw a Blu Jay bustling through the trees.

The Jay took off soon afterwards. Not knowing how long the ruckus had been going on, I thought that perhaps the little baby Robins were dead. I didn’t hear them.

Well guess what… two days later (this morning), as I sat at my desk which overlooks the side yard over the deck, I saw momma Robin and her three young Robins fluttering about – as they landed on one of the solar panels. They’re alive!

That was the first time I’ve ever been able to confirm the baby Robins “made it”. Usually they’re just gone – and that’s it…

I don’t know why it was so enlightening to me, but I just wanted to share this little sappy short story.

Why? Because you know what? Though we’re living through some pretty crappy times right now, LIFE GOES ON. There is GOOD out there. Especially in nature.

As I watch these birds (even my chickens!), they are not affected by human politics. Covid. Big Tech tyranny. On and on… They’re just, birds. Doing what they always do. Nature could give a $hit about us. Sometimes it’s refreshing to just, watch it. Doing it’s thing.

I filed this under “Lifestyle”. It’s easy to get caught up in all the BS that’s going on. And this blog reports on much of that from time to time (which makes sense because we’re a survival/preparedness blog). But there are times when it’s good to look for the “good”. There’s plenty of bad out there. But make time for the good.

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56 Comments

  1. Great story. It feels good to see the life happening. I had a similar luxury this spring myself….a family of Colorado blue birds. Three beautiful babies had survived following mom building the nest high in the neck of our 5th wheel. She and dad bluebird would sit on the fence every morning while I watered the yard and newly planted trees. They would follow me to the new bird baths in the front yard and rejoice when I would fill each with fresh water. So much fun, and so joyful to see the babies fly off!

  2. But no one wants to hear this stuff.
    # Comments tells it all.
    Everyone wants Red Meat.
    Maybe tomorrow I’ll dish it out. Good and rare.

    1. Ah, but it is nice to hear it Ken. Information overload, media overload and all around crap overload. The best part of my day is first thing in the morning after I make a coffee and let the chickens out, sitting on the deck watching them start their day by pestering me to give them some treats….

      About a week or so ago, sitting in the front yard at midnight, no light but the stars, trying to see the Perseid meteors with my boy. Moments like those are priceless as it really is a nice break from the constant worry about what is to come.

    2. Ken –
      I do. We’re down in Mississippi this week at the BOL. Several years ago we were sitting out on the porch at twilight and heard a collision on the road. Car ran into a Mama Deer as she was guarding her two little ones crossing the road to get to our spring. Killed her instantly, which left the two little ones panicked. I was able to talk to them and calm them down enough to follow me towards the woods, then gave them some deer corn to eat. Plenty of hedge rows and thickets for them to get under in the woods, so they scooted in to spend the night.

      As the years have rolled by that little boy and little girl have made this their home. Their herd has grown and come up each night at twilight to play in the “yard”. Even in the cold and rain, we hunker down to be there to count heads and make sure everyone gets some feed. Seeing those heads come over the rise where the land gives way to woods is an indescribable feeling of awe and appreciation. Watching them graze in the tall grass and try to stretch for plums gives me a peace unlike any other. But the other night I had to take a somber phone call about a friends sudden passing, so I walked outside. As I talked “my little girl” evidently heard the sound of my voice and came running full barrel towards me, stopping a mere three feet away. I excused myself from the caller for a minute and said “Hello, sweetheart.”, to which she flicked her tail, pranced out on a line and ran a crazy, loopy path. She was so happy to “see” me and my tears just naturally came. On the phone about losing a friend, yet witnessing God showing me that life goes on. Our actions, when good, reward us and sustain us, when we work in concert with His creation.

      So your story is meaningful to me. And I thank you for choosing to write it because in reality, having the eyes to watch nature’s cycles and tune ourselves to the real world is what matters more than what the media is reporting. Theirs is a world of smoke and mirrors. Nature is what will sustain us long after they’ve blown this charade to smithereens.

    3. Meh. Doom porn gets real old, real fast.

      The multiple nests are interesting. Decoys, maybe? Blue Jays are jerks.

      We had a pair of bluebirds that would nest in a tree on our property every year. We also had a big male bluebird perch on the electrical line to our driveway lamp. Every year.

  3. Yesterday and today I ran our monthly errands and did some grocery shopping. Both days I have found check-out clerks near tears. All from screaming, swearing, angry people sick and tired of all this Covid-virus-facial-diaper-wearing-store-shortages-you-name-it-whatever crap. I decided today that I will treat everyone working out there with extreme kindness. Thank them for working through all of this. Tell them they are appreciated.

    1. DJ
      Most people have no manners at all any more. Mom taught me 4 words that will take you far in life; sir, ma’am, please and thank you.

      1. Car guy, true story. Had new neighbors move into the house with a huge circular driveway where all the neighborhood kids loved to ride and race their bikes. My son rang the bell and asked permission first. Used his “please, thank you, and sir” manners. Man told me later he hadn’t heard a kid use manners in years. Sad. One woman once told our boy he didn’t have to call her “ma’am”, and he glanced at me and replied, “Yes I do.” Our boys are all grown now with families of their own and still use their manners. Lol!

        Ah, the simple days…….

      2. Car guy
        I remember “that” America! Being raised up in the sorta south, “yes ma’am”
        “no sir”, “please,” ” thank you,” “excuse me,” and “pardon me.” Those are
        the ones that my Richmond born Godmother made dang sure I learned and used.

  4. Thanks Ken, your story is much appreciated. I too had a robin’s nest in our open shed. I watched those little things whenever I had the chance, and just like you have seen, one day everyone was gone. Oh well, maybe next year. Its nice to have a feel good nature story and you are right, nature just goes on. Really, we are right there in nature and just along for the ride as well. Our pigs could care less about the election or the virus, as long as we bring the food and move them to new pasture, life goes on for them. At least until their one bad day…. ;-)

  5. I like to hear it; life is hard; but there is beauty around us if we wait quietly and watch. It is also a reminder that humans can’t ruin everything!

  6. We have had a robin build a nest on the gutter down spout for the last 3 years. I have seen the young birds on the ground a couple of times. It is nice to watch God’s wonderful world in action when it is not messed up by people.

  7. I feed birds right outside our window. I love the freedom of the birds to fly.
    The fawn Grace’ gives me a spiritual lift every day when she comes for her apple pieces. What a wonderful creature deer are. Nothing sappy about appreciating the Gods creations.

  8. Had the same thing happen here but with 2 nests vice 4. There was a period of about a month where my family was elsewhere and I found myself having to check in with that Robin mama every day while the coffee was percolating. As the 4 babies grew, 2 of them relocated to the second nest. Additionally, there were 2 pairs of cardinals that would come sit on the rail of the porch. At first, the females were so fat I suspected they had a difficult time taking flight. Sometime in May, they took a day off and came back much slimmer. I never found where their nests were but I hope both families survive and feel welcome here next spring. They are such amazing singers. Yes, despite all of the madness (or talk of madness), there is plenty of beauty in this world if one opens their eyes to see.

  9. Ken,
    Lots of storm clouds dominating our lives , so thanks for the”silver lining” story on the robins.We enjoy grouse families at our place and thoroughly enjoy their activities.

  10. Good stuff. I enjoy watching the nature world. We have a flock of turkeys visit our bird feeders morning and early evening before roosting time. Four mature hens and fourteen 1/2 grown birds, eighteen in all. Hard to count when they are running around like the Three Stooges.

  11. My old house had a walkway to the front door with a large window facing the walkway. Mrs. Robinson made a nest in the hanging fuchsias and had 4 babies. Next year I saw a robin hanging out but the fuchsias weren’t in the stores yet. I trekked up to the local store and asked if she had any in stock yet. She remembered last year and asked me if Mrs. Robinson was back so we went and picked some out from the hot house. We did this for several years.

  12. Thanks for this post, Ken. Remembering to appreciate life’s beauty and sweetness gives us a reason to hang in there, keep preparing, and make a stand. It’s the difference between just surviving, and really living.

  13. I live in nature. There is no one close by and our area is pretty well hidden from everyone. We have all kinds of birds, and animals, especially deer and elk and everything that goes with them. We had birds build a nest this year in the back of our chairs hanging on our RV. We would watch their progress on our morning walks. Yesterday a deer came by with 2 beautiful fawns that still had their spots. She knew me and I feed her. At night our motion light went on and a family of red foxes went right in front of our house. Later a family of skunks came by with the most beautiful markings. I say this because my neighbor told me yesterday she is feeling so depressed because of this virus and not being able to go to restaurants and go to the big city 160 miles away! Now that is sad.

    1. old lady –

      We were all talking about that today – this depression and the folks who are suicidal from staying home more. Good grief…take a walk outside, sit in a chair and watch the birds drift on the breeze, watch the storm clouds building and listen to the rumble of thunder approach! If they don’t have sense enough to appreciate the peace and renewal that nature provides, then that’s on them, because beauty and tranquility await anyone who will walk outside to explore.

      1. M Lynn
        I think a lot of that is over finances, or lack of, i know i would opt for a bullet rather than homelessness, way more dignified

        1. Kula –
          I agree that anyone facing financial catastrophe has ample reason for depression and quite honestly – pure anger if their livelihood was destroyed for no good reason other than the whim of corrupt politicians. But it’s the whiners who can’t get to the gym, or out to a restaurant, or any number of insignificant endeavors that aren’t vital to their survival. Those people are the ones I’m sick of because they just act like children who need their distractions to be happy – lest they are “forced to increase their drug usage to cope with the mental strain”. Tired of reading those stories in the media.

  14. Ken
    Thank you! Sitting outside try to enjoy the end of the day. Read your story and it brought a smile!

  15. Wonderful story, Ken!

    Here in not-suburbia, we have a small birdhouse on a pole high enough for the little house to be seen from our 2nd story deck, but far enough away from the deck that no critters can make the leap from our deck railing to the birdhouse perch.

    A tiny mama sparrow had been filling the house with her little bits and pieces for a while. Last month, she went on the warpath. She had obviously laid her eggs, and she was protecting her little nest in the house like a crazy lady.

    We have a couple of tree squirrels that run back and forth across our deck and railings quite a bit, and she started coming out of the house dive bombing the squirrels (who could have never reached her little house). She was like a teenie-tiny Kamikaze pilot – strafing those squirrels (who were much larger than her) and squawking at them like she was a huge hawk. She chased every living critter off the deck with her aerial maneuvers. Hilarious to watch that tiny mama bird be a fierce warrior.

    When we got back from our last trip down to suburbia she was gone, so we missed the babies leaving the nest… but had hours of entertainment from her heroic moves.

  16. Interesting, i wonder why she built so many nests?
    We have mynah birds that try to build nests all over our place, really quite a nuisance, i like the cardinals, the papa bird feeds the babies, kinda cool.
    Nature doesnt care about masks or phones or politics. Maybe thats why i really just wish i could go off into the trees in the PNW and disappear.

    1. Kulafarmer,

      I think I read (a few years ago) that robins can lay eggs 3 times in a season. Each time they will use a fresh nest. Maybe other birds do the same.

    2. Kulafarmer
      We LOVE your cardinals, the red crested ones that my little granddaughter calls red birds. Each morning a pair would hang around the breakfast table asking for treats. The mynas and doves came in for treats, too, but the red birds would hop right on the table to get a piece of oatmeal to take to their babies in a nearby tree. By the end of our stay The youngsters were joining us for breakfast as well. One of our fondest Hawaiian memories.

  17. Lucked out when I found this place. There’s hundreds of acres of Audubon Society property just across the river. Loads of birds. Currently have a crow that purrs like a cat, loudly, in the back yard. Barn swallows build a nest every year in the rafters of the carport. Make a terrible mess, but more than made up for watching them slice up the sky.

  18. Few years back, I rescued a baby robin off the ground since the mother was not responding to its chirps. Kept it on the back porch and fed it a couple times a day for week or two until it was developed enough to fly. Once I turned it loose, it hung around the property. For days when I went outside, the little guy would fly up and land on the bill of my ball cap and keep me company awhile. He left in the fall, don’t know what happened to him.

    There are many lessons one can learn by observing nature. Fascinating.

    1. Ken/SS
      Great story, Sometimes Nature came be very gracious to us dumb creatures.
      When I was young I’d would go hang out in the forest just to get away from
      the other kids. If you stay real still, “Mother” will gift you with knowledge.
      Great classroom.

  19. Great story, Ken. Too far south for robins to nest but they do visit in the winter. Put out a feeder and birdbath near our banana trees and get many different types of birds all year long. Last year and this year a pair of cardinal brought their babies near the feeders. The babies sat on the fence, peeping and fluttering their wings and the male would go up and feed them. It was amazing to see and didn’t know the male took care of the babies until I saw it happen. You know sometimes you wonder if anyone else is doing, feeling, thinking the same thing you are – it’s nice to know there are people who can still appreciate something as little as a baby bird.

  20. I had a similar experience with a robin in my wood shed. Four nest, all in different stages of build. The first was nothing more than straw made into a rough circle. The second was roughly half way done. The third was complete but not as hefty as the fourth. I wonder if they were just practicing to be able to get it right.
    Then this spring I spotted an Eastern Phoebe nest plastered on top of one of the bedroom shutters. I was working outside quite a bit at that time. So she got accustomed to seeing me and stopped fleeing every time I came outside. I would sit out there and watch her. Then one day just before dusk, she was plucked off of the nest by a bird of prey. Next day I decided to rescue the baby birds since the male did nothing to care for his offspring. There were five babies just balls of fluff, eyes not open yet. During the four days that I cared for them before I turned them over to a wildlife rehabilitator, they were my whole world. I forgot about Covid-19, the politics, the economy, and so on. With having to feed them every 20 minutes or so, I didn’t have time to think of anything else. I learned quite a bit having them for those four days. I suspect that they dream, as I would hear one or more chirp softly like when a person mumbles in their sleep. That’s because I made a makeshift nest by my bed so I could keep and eye on them, in this case, and ear.

  21. Wonderful stories from all! Yes we learn so much from nature and that leads us to realize that no politics, no money, no modern conveniences are needed to survive. How many eons have those birds motored on?

    We had a nest of chicadees in a small, unfinished section between our roof and wall. It should have been covered by trim, but, hey – when you build it yourself, sometimes that stuff does not matter. So on both sides of the house are these 2 little openings. And this year, we had 2 sets of chicadees nesting. It was in between the hot tub, and we saw and heard these pairs bickering like 2 neighbors. It was hysterical! The neighborhood fights! One pair actually had 2 sets of babies. It was so much fun to watch mama bring insects to the nest while papa stayed out of the way and bickered with the neighbors.

    We also had a pair of meadow larks and 3 chicks. That family sticks around our house and garden, and they sing such beautiful songs.

    Yes, nature is awesome. Just like God made. Thank you, Ken, for bringing brightness to our day!!

    1. Pegasus/Ken
      “Yes we learn so much from nature and that leads us to realize that no politics, no money, no modern conveniences are needed to survive.”

      During these troubled times it’s nice to reflect on Gods handy work. Ken’s story reminded me of a verse that is calming in all of the chaos we face on a daily basis.

      Matthew 6:26
      Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

      That being said we should still do our part to be self sufficient and let our faith fill the gaps or cover our weaknesses. The Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc. are always so busy striving to be in control that they fail to recognize that God is ultimately the one in control.

      Ken,
      Thanks for the story. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the the things in life that are the most valuable are usually free.

  22. Birds are smart!!! We had an in ground pool at our last house/double operating doors on the wrap around porch to our bedroom.
    On a cloudy day I was doing stuff around the house and heard a rackus on the porch by my bedroom doors to the porch. I checked and a bird was flying against the outside…over and over…screeching for a long while.
    After checking her nest, I couldn’t find anything bothering her and continued on my way wherever I was going.
    Next day, I checked the filter as I always do and found 3 newborn birds–they had fallen from the nest and had to have walked to the pool and drowned.
    Mamas are smart, but I just didn’t think to check the pool at that time, even with her leading me off the porch several times that way –I just didn’t go far enough. I couldn’t have saved them, but still…sad day.

  23. We wait every year for our swallows to return and nest under the wrap-around porch. Love to watch the babies grow and learn to fly. One year a huge black snake started his way up the post to have a lunch of baby bird. After we dispatched said snake (4-5 feet long) we tossed him in the pond. Turtles and fish made short work of his dead snake a$$ in about 20 minutes. Love our bug and mosquito-eating swallows!!!

    Oh, and for anyone who has chickens and still wants to feed the birds over winter, just fill your feeder with scratch feed, not commercial bird seed. One, its cheaper. Two, its not treated like some commercial bird seed so when the chickens clean up the ground seed it is okay for them to consume it.

  24. My Mama loves birds! Any kind, she loves them. Hundreds of pounds if bird seed put out every week. Bird houses galore and hummingbirds feeders everywhere.
    About 3 years ago a tiny bronze coloured Hummer showed up at the feeder. The old guys did not like this little upstart at all.
    I call him junior.
    Junior does this kinda cool thing.
    If a lady is at the feeder, he will buzz her. Then fly straight up in the air. So high I lose him. Then he ZOOMS back down past the female at Mach 3. When he goes by he emits this super high chirp.
    Never heard it before. Thought it was my smoke alarms chirping with a dead battery.
    Does this all summer.
    The ladies obviously liked it ,cause now there are about 4 Juniors. Same bronze colouring and All of them do the high flying chirping act.
    They make me smile! ☺️🤗
    PEACE
    MadFab

  25. Ken, your story reinforces that we are not one dimensional people. Each of us have many other interests, but seem to have in common the love of nature along with the need to protect those close to us. I am glad you took a moment to share something that brought you joy. Your story made me smile…. robin condos. Hmmmm

  26. Truly appreciate the article and pictures! Have never seen a robin make that many nests before. FYI: In the 2018 movie, The Biggest Little Farm, the couple faces many challenges on their new homestead and find ways to introduce needed bird predators by putting up select bird houses. It’s a story of man understanding nature and inviting it to help solve problems. I recommend watching it because the story is heartwarming and the cinematography is excellent.

  27. What in the HELL is with all the porn spam? Can’t you obliterate homie the clown’s ability to spew his filth, KEN?

    1. @MSG12B,
      The only way to combat this effectively, is to enable a user-registration method to comment. With an open comment system (such as I have here), it is very difficult to stop everything – even with filters. I’m one of the few sites (it seems) this way. Though maybe not for much longer…

      1. Im cool with registering, anyone legit will be as well, there is nothing anonymous these days anyway

        1. Me too, the valuable information we get here, both from Ken and the commenters is worth it.

  28. I’ve got chukars that I get to enjoy year round. My neighbors across the road have a summer home that has a row of bushes next to the road, and behind their house is BLM (not Black Lives Matter) land. In the winter I put out chicken scratch feed under the bushes, and I have 15 to 20 chukars come in everyday, then in the spring they all leave except for one pair that I feed, then I don’t really understand, but around the first of August there will be 4 or 5 adult birds that show up, and then about a week later I’ll have 10 to 15 coming in with about 10 young ones that remind me of two week old chicks. It’s only about 50 yards to the bushes, but I sit in my recliner almost every evening with bino’s and get lots of entertainment out of watching them pick and scratch, I’m always worried about hawks, I feel like a long distance baby sitter, but there is always and adult bird with it’s eyes on the sky. Ain’t God Good! Trekker Out

    1. We have little brown franklins, similar to chukar,
      They have babies from time to time, cutest little things, running in a line,
      Man they can do some damage to a garden though, is one reason i netted mine, we do have some little finches though that are so small they go through the 1×1.25 holes in the plastic fencing,,, luckily the whole flock doesnt do that

  29. Four nests? Defensive maneuver against the Blue-Jays.

    Blue Jays don’t build nests of their own, nor feed and care for their eggs/offspring. They will kick the eggs out of a another birds nest, lay their own eggs in their place, leaving the surrogate mother to hatch, feed, and care for the Blue Jay’s progeny.

    This gives the Blue Jay more time to aggravate, screech at others, and crap on anything and everything…….you know…..sort of like some humans.

    1. Dennis –
      You have given us an apt analogy to BLM protestors in Seattle who stood outside white people’s homes and demanded that the residents turn them over to them, chanting “Give us your houses!”. Bluejay Lives Matter! So robins, finches, cardinal….give them the nests you’ve built too!

      And when the BLM’s of the wildlife world refuses to raise their young, the other birds can gather the worms and provide shelter and teach them as their own, just like we do for our BLM human population. Life imitating nature. Great analogy that is spot on!

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