From incubation to fledging
Week 1 : Incubation
Searching for some multi-purpose filler in our rather untidy shed last week, I found rather more than I had bargained for! Just as I was about to reach for the tub I was looking for, much to my surprise I saw it was propping up a bird’s nest right behind it. There appeared to be no fewer than seven eggs in it, though it was tricky to see clearly inside high up on the dark top shelf. I decided to beat a hasty retreat (I love any excuse for delaying DIY jobs), and went off in search of a suitable ‘Shed-Nest-Cam’ !
A day later I fitted a nestcam within about two feet, having first made sure no bird was ‘at home’ at the time. Within the hour of switching it on, the new red-breasted ‘tenant’ of our shed was already back tending her eggs. A few cropped stills from the first video clips recorded by #RobinShedNest Cam on the first two days after stumbling on the nest are shown above. The video below shows a compilation of clips from the first week.
Most ‘action’ was of the female sitting calmly but always alert on her eggs, just leaving now and then for a brief break presumably to find feed, at most times back again within less than five or more rarely nearer 10 minutes. When returning to the nest, a few times she seems to turn or rearrange the eggs under her before then gentle spreading her wings and settling down over them again. A rather odd place to chose by a Robin as a nest-site you may think, in between bottles also of antifreeze, gold paint, woodlouse repellent and a tube of tile fix. Admittedly though not that bad a choice given the week of heavy rain and wind we’ve had in Somerset, whilst Robin Red Breast rests snug in Robin’s Shed Nest” 🐦
Only when watching back the clips I noted that the female incubating the eggs is a friendly robin that had often following me around when I’d been digging a trench in the garden earlier this spring. Its quite easy to recognise her by the prominent greyish throat patch (see near end of clip) among her ‘red breast’ feathers. This should be useful to distinguish her from the male if and when he hopefully makes and appearance soon. Male Robins don’t tend to help with incubation, but commonly help with feeding the female but especially the young once hatched.
Not knowing for certain when the first eggs were laid and clutch was completed, it is difficult to predict precisely when the young are due to hatch. However, with so many eggs already seven or more days ago, I expect it won’t be very long now until baby Robins appear. Check back next Thursday for updates from #RobinShedNest, or please do subscribe to get notifications of all new blog posts!
NEWSFLASH : Week 2 Day 2
Sooner than I had expected , I noted lots of action at Robin’s Shed Nest on the latest recordings; and true enough several young are seen beneath mum. Also just before then the male Robin made his first appearance at #RobinShedNest cam , coming to feed the female and inspect the brood. More soon ! Click to see 3min clip from hatching day at youtube below. (For intro. and Week 1 scroll down)
Week 2 : Two days post-hatching
Selected clips from 2 days after I first noted that the chicks had hatched. Both parents are now feeding them. The females still stays at the nest for extended periods to keep her brood warm, but also heads off to get feed herself now and then. Footage above from day 4 is a bit clearer, as not so dark at the nest.
Week 2 : Four days post-hatching
Its now four (or possibly 5) days since the young hatched, and both the male and female are feeding the young frantically, with more than 23 feed visits to the nest recorded in some hours. Over two-thirds of feeds now being provided by the male, but female is also feeding her young and both parents are also on ‘nappy duty’ !
Week 3 : Eight days post-hatching
Its now at least 8 days since the chicks hatched. The frenzied feeding visits by both parents continued incessantly over the last four days, and on this day I counted no less than 38 visits (26 by the male, 12 by the female) within a single hour of continuous recording. No wonder the chicks are growing at an incredible rate. Most robins don’t fledge until 12 to 14 days after hatching, so will post another update in about two or three days.
Week 3 : 11 days post-hatching
For those wondering how the young from our #RobinShedNest are getting on, below is just a short preview snippet from 11 days post hatching. They are looking and sounding rather cute now ! While work has interfered with me watching all 200 (!) x 1min clips recorded , having switched to an IR triggered cam for a day, hopefully will watch and upload more and of them fledging over the weekend.
Week 3 : 13 days – “Hurray – They’ve Fledged
Since the pair of Robins chose to build a nest and rear their young in our shed at end of April, right among bottles of Antifreeze and Polyfilla , its been a privilege to be able to watch their progress through incubation, hatching , endless feeding and NOW – finally the day of hatching. In all 4 chicks hatched and were successfully reared. And although I have not yet edited hours of footage from the previous days still showing all four of them, here is some footage from the ‘Day of Fledging’. The first two chicks must have fledged very early on day 13 before I had started recording again. These two as per footage below took their time. While I have edited down to 3 minutes, from time the last hooped out of the nest onto the shelf it took nearly another two hours before its leap of faith – followed by a game of hide and seek when dad came back trying to feed the chicks !