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Robins in the ‘hood. April 18, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Living in a cold-winter climate as we do, one of the weatherizing steps our friend Ben and I take every fall is to put a cover over the outside portion of our one pitiful window air conditioner. We tie its fasteners to snug the cover against the a/c, but we also put a brick on top, just in case. This past fall, we added a log from our woodpile, since winds here can get rough and we wanted to make sure the cover didn’t budge.

With temperatures continuing to fall into the 30s and 40s here at night (in mid-April, yikes), we haven’t yet removed the a/c cover or the log. Apparently, this was a big mistake.

I guess the space between the log and my office window looked cozy and inviting to a pair of robins, since all morning, I’ve watched them bringing straw, leaves, twigs and the like and tossing them in the empty space. Not even our dino-sized cat, Linus, repeatedly launching himself against the window, has deterred them.

Now, we’ve had robins nest in some unusual locations here before, most notably in a nest built in a wreath we’d hung on the front of our house. But I’ve never had such an up-close view of their nest-building process. However, with the process going on a couple of feet from my computer, it’s impossible to ignore.

Prior to this backyard science experiment, I’d have assumed that when a robin appeared at the nest site with a beakful of nesting materials, he or she would have carefully added them to the nest and packed them in place before flying off to get more. However, it appears that robins actually operate more like human builders, assembling all the materials at the site before beginning construction.

I guess this is a lucky break for me. I can’t afford to let our pair nest on top of the a/c cover—I’m going to need that air conditioner!—and I’d have hated to move a nest, in case the parents abandoned it.

Instead, in an hour, when I go out to get the mail and put out the recycling, I’ll head to the side of the house, remove the log and cover, take the log to the fire pit, and bring the cover inside. I’ll leave the robins’ carefully accumulated nesting materials on the ground beneath the a/c. If they want to nest on top of the a/c itself, that’s their business. I can only hope that the nestlings will be big enough to fly before I have to turn the damn thing on!

‘Til next time,




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