Robins-to-be

A robin built her nest on this roll of electrical wire.
This is the nest that the robin built on a roll of electrical wire. Last weekend the nest was empty, and by Monday there was one egg. Tuesday there were two eggs, and by Thursday there were three. I took the photo of the eggs then. By the end of the week, the robin had laid another egg, for a grand total of four.

She’s been afraid to enter her nest when we’re out on the porch, but she’s going to have to get used to us being there. Yesterday we moved the box away from the corner of the porch so that it’s almost underneath the bathroom window. I thought I could be clever and take photos of the robin and her brood from inside the house. I went into the bathroom and looked through the venetian blinds. I don’t know if she heard me, or else she has really, really good eyesight, but the robin immediately looked up at me when I got near the window. And I thought I was being quiet!

I looked up some robin information, and found out that the Latin name for them is Turdus migratorius. No, that isn’t a joke! The Latin word turdus means “thrush,” and the American Robin is actually a species of thrush rather than a separate species.

Three robin eggs in a nest built on a roll of electrical wire.

Robins will eat fruit as well as insects and worms, but they’re frequently seen hopping through the grass looking for earthworms. It’s a common misconception that robins can hear worms moving about underneath the ground. When they stand with their head inclined to the side, they are actually just looking at the ground.

Because their eyes are on the side of their heads, robins have a very wide range of vision, but they don’t see very well directly in front of them. Their binocular vision is limited — unlike humans, cats, or owls — which have eyes on the front of their faces rather than off to the side. The robins can’t move their eyes the way we can, either, so they have to move their whole head. It’s just easier for them to look at the ground with one eye, and this is why they tilt their heads.

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