The Case of the Robin Family

Mama Robin and babies

Mama Robin and babies

Last year a robin family built a nest in a bush right next to our front door. The mama robin laid eggs and we got to see the babies every day when they hatched. It was one of the highlights of our spring.

Last week the robin family came back and built up the nest they left behind and laid 4 eggs in it. Every day I’d wake up and look out the door or window and smile to see the mama robin sitting on the eggs. I’d do the same when I got home from work, watching the mama fly away as I got close to the bush to walk in the door. I was getting super excited about the birth of 4 little robins!

Two days ago I came home from work and noticed a few robins in the side yard, but no mama was in the nest. I sensed that the robins in the yard were in distress, but I thought they were just warning the mama that I’d be getting close to the nest. When I walked up to the bush and looked into the nest, though, I saw that all four eggs were gone. I was horrified and saddened.

I went back and checked the nest and area a few times, trying to discern what happened. I saw a few very small pieces of the egg shell in the nest and on the ground, but not much at all really. Definitely nothing incriminating or tell-tale. If it was my first look in the nest, I would have assumed the mama had yet to lay her eggs.

When I got home from work yesterday, I noticed my front yard was filled with feathers. It looked like a major fight had gone down right on my front lawn. I stood there, once again horrified, thinking that if I stood there long enough, I’d get a vision of what happened while I was at work. Of course that didn’t happen and I was left to wonder what sort of drama is going on with the wildlife outside my front door while I’m 38 miles away each day.

Some might say I’m putting way too much thought and energy into this whole thing, but I seriously considered going to poll the neighbors about suspicious wildlife activity in our yard. I feel like putting all the detecting skills I’ve collected from reading mysteries my entire life to good use and tracking down the killer of my robin family. I saw no robins at all in my yard when I came home today. I’m not sure if the whole lot of them up and left for safer nesting grounds or if they’re just keeping a low profile after the family massacre or what. Either case is distressing to me.

I know this is nature and its survival of the fittest and all that, but I’m still upset about the loss of my baby robins and most likely at least one adult member of their family, too.

Right now our prime suspect is a hawk since we have quite a few of them in the area. Are there any bird and/or wildlife specialists out there who’d like to weigh in with their opinion? I need to direct my mean thoughts accordingly.

4 Responses to “The Case of the Robin Family”

  1. N97 Geek says:

    Robbins are such beautiful birds. You’re lucky to have had a nest in your garden.

    I’m so sorry to hear about what happened, I get really distressed by this kind of thing too. I hate seeing animals get hurt.

    Could it have been a cat or something? :(

  2. Loretta says:

    I, too, have been watching for the “hatching” of 3 robins eggs in a bush by my front door also. I noticed them at first, on the 29th. I went outside today and peeked in to see if Mama bird was sitting on her nest. (if she’s there, I try not make my presence obvious and quickly walk away) Today, she wasn’t sitting on her eggs so I quickly got my camera and snapped a quick picture to see if there was any progress with her babies. To my horror, there was only one egg left. I am heartbroken that some beast has stolen her babies and I haven’t seen her for some time today to see is she returned to her nest to care for the remaining egg. I fear that she has abandoned the remaining egg. This is my first experience with Robin’s eggs being so close to my home. Do you think she’ll return to the remaining egg or is it too late? I sure hope not…

  3. Amy says:

    Hi Loretta,

    I’m not sure about your robin… hopefully the mama will come back! It’s so much fun to watch the baby in the nest.

  4. Loretta says:

    Hi there, Amy…

    Well, unfortunately, my worst fears have come true. After quite a bit of loud, erratic chirping at 5:00 am this morning, I ran outside like a lunatic, in the rain, in my P.J.’s and slippers and ran over to the bush. I have no idea what happened because I didn’t see a soul by the bush, but while I walked by it, I looked in to see if mama was in there. Alas, she was not and upon further investigation, the last of the 3 eggs was gone. I’m so sad because I was truly looking forward to seeing these babies grow up. I don’t know if I should do anything with the nest. Apparently it’s not such a safe hideaway and I’m afraid another robin might take up residence and lay her eggs, only to have disaster happen again. Do you happen to know if robins or any other birds use existing nests? I feel foolish asking that question, but like I said, this is my first “nest” experience and I’d rather avoid any more predators from stealing any more babies…and avoid my own disappointment as well!

    Thank you so very much for getting back to me!