June 24, 2012

Baby robins


I am skronking a blog entry together here even later than usual, having been working on SHADOWS till a depraved hour, having also decided this afternoon that it was over time to do you my fabulous Second Nest photo essay . . .  and always forgetting that photo blogs take JUST AS LONG as text blogs because of all the choosing and cropping and rechoosing and recropping and fussing and making lists and changing my mind.   I fuss slowly.  In this case complicated by the fact that I have extraordinary numbers of . . . ahem . . . not totally excellent photos to fuss over. 

Baby robins. Among the plant food and Epsom salts.

Now this is the first nest, and you see that it was not divinely situated for photo taking.  I could see it fine–and I can tell you there are five baby robins in there–but since I didn’t want to shoot off the flash in their little fluffy faces I was a bit stymed on the photo front.

Teeny teeny weeny. Not much with the feathers either.

Now this is the second nest, beautifully open to sunlight and photography . . . except for the little fact that it’s over my head behind a wall of pots and paraphernalia and that I took this and all the following photos (and a great many more you are spared) standing in a highly precarious manner with my feet on two loose bits of timber propped up on bricks and holding the camera at full arm’s length pointing down to where I know the nest is, on the far side of the aforementioned wall, and my other hand frantically grasping anything it can, to keep me (relatively) steady for shutter-clicking.  The things I go through for this blog.

By the way, to give you some idea of scale, the width of those upside-down pressed-compost pots leaning on the edge of the nest is two and a half inches.  Baby robins are very small. 

You may remember I discovered the presence of the nest when I dropped some of these pressed-compost pots on sitting mama robin’s head.  I had to clear them away without being able to see what I was doing either, and these last few were  inadvertently left behind.  And then when the photos revealed their presence I was afraid to try to move them because I didn’t want to freak anybody out.  Mum and dad remained dubious about me (despite all the mealworms) but the kids were so used to this ticking black rectangular thing swooping down at them from overhead every day (just about the time the mealworms arrived, in fact) that I could probably have decorated the nest with ribbons and pinwheels and they wouldn’t have batted an eye.  Although I’m sure mum and dad would have disapproved.


Feeeeeeeeed meeeeeeeee

They are all mouth at this age–with its beak open you feel like you can see the back of a baby robin’s skull, not just its throat–on these tiny wavery little necks.

Are we cute yet?

They're getting a little more emphatic. They're still all beak, but they're BIGGER.

Feed me, revisited.  They’re even beginning to make some effort about feathers.

I never did quite decide if there were four or five this time.

I think it’s only four.  But there are always slightly more bulges than four robins decently need, and I never saw them live directly either–just the photos.  Maybe the fifth one is shy.  Note beaks still as big as their heads.

Mum, keeping an eye on me

If you look carefully in the gap in the centre, you will see a tiny little red head, its eye clearly staring suspiciously at the photographer. 



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