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Circle of life

Circle of life
Brian Wilson
Circle of life
Brian Wilson

On average baby robins will be in their nest for between 9 and 13 days but could be in them for as much as 16 days. However, on the day they decide to take their first flights out of the nest, they will be gone within 24 hours.

The process is called fledging, and as can be imagined, it is a dangerous time for young birds when they could easily fall prey or get hurt. Despite the dangers it is necessary for the young birds to take that leap and learn to fly on their own. You can’t live in the same nest forever.

Last year, a pair of robins built a rather impressive nest in the large shrub that sits along the side of my garage on the path that leads from my front door to my driveway.

Shortly after the nest was built, four bright blue eggs appeared and Mrs. Robin, who I named Ramona was busy sitting on them and keeping them from harm. I was anticipating seeing baby chicks in the nest at some point. However, that was not meant to be because one day, the eggs were just gone. Ramona and Robbie Robin were nowhere to be seen.

I feared that something had happened to them, whether it was some varmint or perhaps one of the cats that occasionally prowl through the neighborhood.

A couple weeks ago I was walking by the shrub on my way to go to work and a splash of bright blue caught my eye. It seems that Ramona had been busy and had returned to the nest that she had built last year to lay her eggs.

Ramona is rather skittish and will fly off whenever someone walks along the path. I have been trying to avoid making excessive trips down my front pathway hoping that she would be successful in hatching and raising her bird family. In all honesty, I feared they would come to the same fate as last year’s clutch.

It is with some surprise, and awe, that I noticed some movement in the nest as I walked by on Saturday morning. In the place of the round blue eggs, were some rather fuzzy wrinkled baby birds meeping for their mother.

I stayed long enough to snap a picture on my phone of the newly-hatched baby birds and then went off to get pictures of families fishing along the banks of the Black River in downtown Medford.

I alerted my family about the new additions to our local ecosystem. It was pretty exciting news around the Wilson household. My daughter has named the chicks Ricki, Ronald and Rachel.

Yes, we are easily amused and generally rather boring people who get excited about seeing robin chicks poking their heads up and waiting for food.

Since then, I have made a point to check on the baby robins as I pass by on my way to work. I also try to be careful when I come back after dark to not startle Ramona Robin as she sits on the nest keeping her babies warm and protected.

I have begun to worry about Ramona’s brood of baby birds. What if some critter came along who saw the baby birds as a quick snack?

The harsh reality is that other than going out of our way to not harass or stress the family of robins, there isn’t much else we can do. As nature does, it will find a way.

By my math, the baby birds should be leaving their nest by the third week of May — about the same time that area young people will be leaving school, graduating and heading out into the world. We can hope they are prepared for what the future will bring and fortunately, their odds of being eaten by a stray cat are exceedingly small.

The idea of this does not make me any less worried about the future and what it will bring.

As far as Ramona, she will move on to other nests and lay more eggs, whether or not there is an Elton John song playing in the background.

Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News. Contact Brian at