Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mama and papa Robin feeding their nestling at Magee Marsh...

This sweet little bird has to be the most photographed American Robin on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh. Her nest was located at eye level in the crook of a horizontal branch on a huge tree about ten feet from the boardwalk. She faithfully sat on the nest and was there every time I walked past. The robin's nest was so conspicuous that any person with a camera would stop to "oooooh" and "ahhhh" and then photograph her. She didn't care. She would sit and watch or close her eyes and doze. One afternoon in a light drizzle I stopped to photograph her. No one else was around, so I knew I could spend some time with her. As I focused in, I heard the chirp of another robin and watched her perk up. Suddenly her mate popped into view with yummy insects in his bill. I assumed he was delivering insects to feed the female, but she didn't eat. Instead, she got up, peered into the nest, and a little beak popped up...

An American Robin (Turdus migratorius) sitting on a nest at Magee Marsh. A gentle rain was falling and I could see the raindrops beading up on her feathers. I thought that would be interesting. Little did I know something more interesting would show up...

...suddenly, the male robin flew in with a tasty treat. 
(I am assuming this is the male because the color of his plumage was more vibrant that the female's.)

The male gave the female the insect--looks like some sort of damselfly!

...they both took turns feeding the baby (only one little bill popped up).

The female put the damselfly in the nestling's mouth.

...papa took a turn too.

"Do you have any more? The baby's still hungry..."

"You'd better hurry. Those insects aren't going to catch themselves..." 

The female returned to the nest, keeping the nestling warm.

...as I was leaving, I noticed I could see her head on--always one of my favorite angles. You have to love robins on nests! 
These photos are all from the week I spent looking for warblers at Magee Marsh in May for the  Biggest Week in American Birding festival.

Note: Magee Marsh is one of the sites on the Nature Conservancy's Natural Treasures of Ohio sweepstakes (May 22 - August 8). You can enter to win a Honda Insight Hybrid after visiting Magee Marsh! Click here for details on how to win the car.

(These photos are classic "robin sitting on a nest" shots. They are great references for artists. If you're an artist, feel free to use them for inspiration.)

22 comments:

Arija said...

How utterly adorable!! Fabulous, heartwarming pictures. I hope another egg hatched as well but even with just one, what a happy family.

Thank you so much for documenting the robins 'at home'.

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

I just loved this sequence. You captured something we never get a chance to see it was quite special.

Thanks
Guy

TexWisGirl said...

you captured such a feeling of nurturing and tenderness here. beautiful.

Carole M. said...

oh fabulous opportunity; beautiful photographs

Cicero Sings said...

Great series of pictures! What an opportunity.

Elaine said...

Wonderful series of shots, Kelly! Funny that the robins built a nest so close to the boardwalk--they must have known all those bird photographers were going to be showing up and wanted their own little reality show.

holdingmoments said...

What a superb set Kelly.
An intimate selection of a lovely bird. What great parents they are.

DeanO said...

Beautiful, adorable and touch. Great set of photographs

ShySongbird said...

Wonderful photos Kelly! What a privilege to observe them so closely. Those attentive parents could teach the human race a thing or two!

NCmountainwoman said...

Few things are more beautiful than birds being birds. What gorgeous photographs of this tender feeding time. We could learn a lot from them.

Banjo52 said...

Once again, great photos and narrative. Robins are so plentiful that I feel as if I OUGHT to be getting this kind of an inside look at them.

Janice K said...

Such a neat surprise! Beautiful series of pictures. That little mouth/beak looks so big.

Janice K said...
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Toni said...

Kelly isn't Magee Marsh something! I love these photos of the Robins. I'd like to go back there sometime when it isn't so crazy just to see what birds stay there for the season.

Dina said...

Amazing shots of the family. That tiny little beak is so cute.

Julie G. said...

Sweet, beautiful photographs of robin parents tending to their little one. I was so touched by this tender post. Terrific image series and narrative! A joy to visit your wonderful blog!

Mary Ann Gieszelmann said...

What a great little story sequence!

Roy said...

Fabulous Kelly, what nice moments to capture.

Kelly said...

....thanks, everyone! I was so happy when the papa flew up with food, and they both took turns feeding the baby robin. She was such a popular robin. Her nest was so close to the boardwalk, but she didn't care at all. Anyone who walked that part of the boardwalk has to know which robin this was! :-)

Montanagirl said...

Terrific series of the Robins. We have several in our yard vying for the grape jelly!

Marie said...

I love how their beaks always seem to point up in the air. Makes them look a bit snooty. I've got one on my table right now, hope to get her done in a day or two!

Mary said...

Cute! Love your captions, too :-) I wonder how many bugs it takes to fill up a baby bird?