Mr. Robin, single parent extraordinaire!

Last year, in the summer, we were delighted when a pair of robins nested in one of our stables. The stables do not have horses in but are used for storage and this stable housed the lawn mowers and garden tools. There was an apple picker lying with the canvas part in a bowl so it made a sort of tent, on a table in there and this was the spot chosen for the nest. 

In order to give the couple peace and quiet we took the mowers elsewhere and went into this stable as little as possible.  In due course, 4 eggs were laid.  Mrs Robin appeared to do all of the sitting and was quite tame and unafraid when I went in to leave her little snacks on the table of dried mealworms in the first week of the incubation period.  However, one day, I went in and found it was Mr Robin, who was more timid and tended to fly off in alarm in the stable when I went in there.  Gradually, I began to realize that he was doing the job alone. No sign of his wife. A few days later, we happened on a body of a female robin in our garden….. 

Undaunted, that male robin carried on incubating on his own.  He turfed out two eggs out of the nest, presumably because he realized he would be unable to rear more than two babies on his own.  He rarely left the nest so I continued to feed him and leave water for him.  In due course the eggs hatched and the twins arrived. 

Here they are, well camouflaged! 

Father robin was dutiful in his care.  When time came to leave the nest he had his son and daughter (this was now obvious from their markings) practice flying around the stable.  To make it easier to go in and out (I had previously left the window open only a crack to stop the squirrel or magpie from stealing the eggs or babies as had happened in the past) I now left the top half of the stable door open during the day.  The ‘children’ went out for flying practice during the day and I saw Father robin waiting anxiously perched on the door in the evenings , waiting for their return.

    A titbit ready for the first one home tonight!

Eventually his progeny left the nest and made their own way.

This year, there are a couple of male robins, very much in evidence around the garden. It is a very large garden so there is room to split up the territory.  One of them has a mate and they have started to build a nest in the same stable, this time in an old kettle lying on the shelf. I don’t know if it is the same one, his son, or another one. Is he revisiting his past? I will report progress.