Friday, June 5, 2009
As it turns out, that last post on May 30th wasn't the end of the story; the juvenile robins are being raised in the surrounding trees. Every day since the last one left, I've seen one and sometimes two together. Usually I'm tipped off to the location by now-familiar calls-and-responses. For the first couple of days, the young'uns were not very high up in the old bent pine tree, where I took the photo above. See the black-and-white speckling on the red breast? That, and the overall "fluffy" quality, let you know it's a juvenile. (Oh, also the insane cheeping when it's time to eat.) Most interesting is the way the mom encourages them to fly: I saw her tugging worms out of the tomato patch, loading up her beak, then she flew to a branch next to the kids, sat there a few seconds while they raised a racket about the lunch she was holding, then she flew away, higher up into the next tree, and they followed! I guess they'll be trained to find their own worms once they're stronger, swifter flyers, and it's safer for them to be on the ground. Songbirds are much different from baby goslings and ducks, who walk right out of the shell and commence swimming and feeding themselves more or less immediately.