TheFishmonger's Nature Files #217

I think we may have the stupidest robin in the whole world living in our backyard.  I do not believe she will have descendants.  I say she because a quick google search I just did tells me that it's the girl robin that builds the nests.

First a nest appeared on our deck, in a chair which had been pushed in to our patio table.  This is the third year in a row that this feat has been attempted, and it always ends badly for the nest.  We are not fans of angry mother birds verbally assaulting us each time we walk onto the deck.  So each year, the chair gets moved around the corner and the nest is quickly abandoned.

This year was even more inept than usual.  The chair that was selected is made of cast aluminum and has an open weave pattern.  I repeatedly removed nesting material when it was place on the chair, but Mama Robin insisted on building there.  Eventually, she managed to get a nest  built and mud-mortared before I could clear the grass and sticks away.

Upon examination of the nest, I realized that the fool robin had decided to build the nest so that the open square was directly under the center of the nest.  Her construction efforts resulted in what appeared to be a fine, bowl-shaped nest, but with one, small problem - it had a hole in the center!  This was not a small hole.  It was big enough for two or three robin's eggs to pass through simultaneously*.  Beneath the hole was a largish mound of grass and mud which, despite Ms. Robin's best intentions, did not magically cohere to fill the hole.

A few days later, a new nest was started, in the branches of our viburnum.  It was promising at first - bowl shaped, with no large holes in it.  Unfortunately, it looked a little precarious.  When I noticed the nest, I wondered how it was staying in place.  Rather than being centered on the branch juncture, it was cantilevered out into space.    It seemed an engineering marvel.  Or at least it seemed so until the rains began.

Mama robin sat dutifully on her eggs as the rains came day after day.  After a couple of days, a distinct slump was visible in the nest.  It took on the appearance of a split level ranch nest, with mama and the eggs spending their time in the lower level.  It did not seem like a good trend.

This morning, I peeked out at the nest location to find only a tuft of grass.  Examination of the area below found two smashed pale blue eggs.  Oddly, rather than the actual nest, I only saw another tuft of grass.  Had Miss Bird neglected to apply mud to her construction?   It seems unlikely.  Further investigation is clearly called for.

Mama robin is now sitting disconsolately on the branch where her nest once was.  Though I feel bad for her, it's increasingly obvious that the robin genetic pool would be negatively impacted if she reproduced.  For the sake of future generations, this is all for the best.  #ThinkOfItAsEvolutionInAction

* This was not confirmed by experiment.

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