30 April 2010

lucky us.

we still have last year's.

Last spring, we played host to two robins who made their nest and raised four chicks in a corner of our front porch eaves.  It turned into a fun science-and-nature lesson with my then-three-year-old son and a fun photography project for me: the nest was in just the right place for me to slip my camera above and snap a shot of its contents using the macro function ("flower button") on my trusty point-and-shoot.  One of the photos from last year is the background for my first (and current) blog banner.   And after the birds had moved out, we pulled the nest down and were able to examine the careful construction and use it as a place to gather some of the special things that make it from outside into our own home.

So this spring, we were really thrilled (and a little surprised) to see the first twigs and sticks of a new nest going up in the exact same spot.  I have to assume that it's the same pair of birds--I guess all my intrusions were not enough to make the parents want to shop for real estate on a different porch.  Still, I've tried to be a little less nosy this year, taking a photo only once or twice every week. 

Here's what I'd been seing the past few times I peeked--four eggs, same as last year:

back again.

And here's what I saw today:
just hatched.

Wow!  These guys are obviously very new; the tightly curled one in the middle looks like its feathers are still wet from being in the shell.  One thing I haven't figured out is what the parents are doing with the egg shells once the birds hatch--we didn't find them nearby either year, so I'm wondering if they carry them far away to discourage predators who might smell them.

You can see a short (9 second) video of the birds today here and my full set of last year's nest and fledglings here.  I'll keep checking in with the birds every few days as their feathers come in and they learn to fly--it was a remarkably fast process, if I remember right.

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