Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Robins in the Honeysuckle

You can always tell when you are getting close to a robin's nest. The mom and dad birds will let you know in a distinctive worried cheep cheep chirp. I have come to identify their worried calls and generally tend to steer clear of the nest. I was recently working around my wisteria arbor though, and wanted to take the opportunity to check on this nest. I knew the robins had built a nest here because I can easily see it from my computer room window, but I was not sure on the status of the eggs or babies. Since the arbor is over 8 feet tall, I had to use a ladder to reach into the nest and came away feeling a bunch of warm bodies. Hmmmm, this bears further investigation.

Ah, there they are! Happily sleeping and looking very content and comfortable. I can't resist seeing the babies up close and personal. Momma bird was never far away and kept a watchful eye on my painting near her babies.

Here is momma bird right under the large branch closest to the camera. She was not dissuaded from her motherly duties by my presence. Once I got off the ladder, she immediately checked on her babies and found they were all well. I am so glad she chose a high location to raiser her young. BJ is a bird dog and hunts them out. Once he finds a nest he destroys it, no questions asked. It is so frustrating for me.

I want to mention the honeysuckle. I do of course have the common Japanese honeysuckle all over the place. While I like it, I don't like its aggressive nature and smother everything in its path attitude. My daughter, Liz, and I attended a Perennial Plant Society (PPS) meeting about four years ago. The PPS had just began giving away door prizes. They were a bit tentative on how to do so. On this particular night the two door prizes went to the oldest and youngest members present. My daughter was the youngest (at 23) that evening. She won this 'Dropmore' honeysuckle and gave it to me. It is finally beginning to grow and while it is an aggressive viner, it is a pretty orange and easily confined to the wisteria arbor. A post will be upcoming on this 'tremendous' arbor.

in the garden....


  1. Awww, how cute. I had a nest in my pin cherry one year, I don't think it was robin though, can't remember. Heard my first bluejay, they are back but not at the feeder, hope they find the feeders to small for them, both female redpoles continue to visit and are quite tame, not bothered by us in the driveway.
    Both kids off to school today, not allergies, colds. Esp. with Zack, Nikki has to have the hudmidfier in her room, don't think it helps, might be dragging it out. Later, gotta call the doctor.

  2. Mom- They are soooo cute! I love looking at all the nests that you have in the yard. Someday when I have my own house I hope to get lots of little ones around it as well. Bella likes birds like BJ likes birds, but she has never hurt one or killed on. Though she has caught a couple chickens, she never hurt them. Put "played" with the a little. She is better about not going red around them now!

  3. Hi Tina --what a sweet post about the mommy bird and her babies. Looks like another nice day here. See you all later --need to get outside --got the kiddos off to school already and sidekick is ready to go out looking for a lizard. He saw one by the tree stump out back yesterday afternoon and is convinced it is STILL there:)

  4. Good morning all, I love the little birdies. So neat to have them close and this is about the only time we can really touch them.

    Dawn, It is kind of late to get colds for the kids, hope they get well soon. Heard today on the news the weather in Maine will be a 'warm' 50-60 degrees. Gotta enjoy that! lol

    Christine, You will have your own house with lots of birds and gardens. I'll surely share and I don't think you will have to shop at all!

    Anonymous, Another BEAUTIFUL day. No humidity. It is super awesome. I have to cut my lawn too. I am trying to not obsess so much about it as it takes so much time. Hope sidekick finds his lizard. If it is a blue tailed skink it will still be close. Anoles stay close too.

  5. My mother in law has some baby birds right outside here bedroom window. I need to take pics of them. Christopher loves to check up on them everytime we go there. Can we have some pics of the arbor and the "dropmore" honeysuckle. I would so like to see what they look like.

  6. Tina,

    Sweet post Tina. How nice to be able to watch this family grow while at the computer!


  7. Mom, got the note, see ya later.

  8. Good morning all.

    I just checked in the shed yesterday to see if we had any baby robins as we did last year.
    The nest is still there from last year but sadly it was empty.

  9. Okay Dawn, we will be there. At least no rain today but said it will be windy so bring a jacket as it will probably be cold by the time they are done. But dead calm so far.

  10. Dawn, glad that Zach and Nikki are better now. I just knew it was going to be spring allergies. But colds have been going around also...

    Christinelynn, be careful what you ask for... Mowing, weeding, planting, watering, etc it is an endless cycle! But oh so much fun for me...

    Anonymous, Sidekick is probably right. Lizards like to hang out in the same sunning spot! They can be territorial also! Found that interesting on a TV show!

    Sarah, do snap pictures of the baby’s for us!

    Gail, one year I discovered a Wrens nest on our boat from the office window. I normally keep my eyes on the flower garden but something kept catching my eye to the right. The wren kept flying under the boat. I went to investigate and found a nest being built under a sagging towel what we had over the trolling motor! I had to remove that one as that would not have worked. Felt sorry for the little guy but we have over 2.5 acres of land and he had plenty of other places to nest to include one of 4 birdhouses on our front porch to nest in!

    Tina, it is fun to watch and document the progress of birds from the nest to fledging. We get lucky enough to see the fledgling leave the nest or house at times. My favorite was the day I saw the tiny Chickadees fly from their little house. They were adorable! I was shocked to see how soon the Cardinals leave their nest. They are only about 8 days old!

    Jean, do robins reuse nest? We always try to destroy nest once the babies have left. I learned on a program or reading, that eggs should be in fresh clean nest for a healthier baby. We always clean out the bird house after each brood. Then mommy and daddy built a nice fresh new one.... Have fun with the kids...

  11. Sarah, Hello and good morning! A post is coming on the arbor. It is huge! A story with it for sure. In the first pic you can see the orange honeysuckle. Not sure why but robins love nesting in honeysuckle. Is this what your mother in law has nesting?

    Hi Gail! Is your post up? I'll head over there soon!

    Dawn, Have fun at the game. So glad Mom can come too.

    Mom, Maybe the robin will come back. I find they nest in different spots each year. Not sure why robins do this but it is best in my garden as the other nests have been too low-the dogs get them.

    Skeeter, You taught me to record the birds in their states. Never thought of it before until you sent me those great pics of the wrens at your place. I did upload those pics and love that post. We had cardinals last year and I was also surprised that when they leave the nest they look NOTHING like cardinals! They stay in the yard though and the parents continue to feed them for a few more weeks. That might explain it. They are ugly baby birds don't you think?

    Funny about the nests. I cleaned my bluebird house and threw down the nest. I thought it was from last year, two days later there was another one there! I left that alone. That nest is what I am following. Started with two eggs, now five. We'll see. ttyl

  12. Yep, the baby Cardinals look like little aliens!
    Did I tell you about the time the Saint reached in with his bare hands to remove an old nest and he found a snake? Was a king snake taking a nap after eating some thing. Belly had a bulge in it. Nope not the birds as they had already left the nest… Now he uses gloves and a ladder or we do it together. LOL And yes, I got a picture of that snake coiled up in the birdhouse!
    I am such a picture taking nutcase...

  13. Yep, I did a post with the picture of the snake. In fact, it is one of the pics I still need. I am finding more and more posts. It was over 200 I had to rework! urrrr!

  14. Tina, loved the post on the baby birds. I like to watch them. Mom stays real busy trying to keep all fed. They build in my azaleas. She is lt. brown with beige under belly, long tail feathers, eats worms & such from ground. Looks like ground thrush to me. I also have cardinals, hummers, jays, & others. Just wish I could get blue birds.
    I even have one of those things you hang up that is filled with some kind of cotton. Doesn't look like they are using too much of it. Dryer lint is good too. Just put it somewhere that they can peck at it to take it to nest.

  15. Hi Lola, How are you? Is it hot yet in Florida? I notice my attic fan came on today. It is coming. I do like the low humidity.

    Not sure why you can't get bluebirds. Do you put out mealworms? I know Skeeter does. Maybe that will help? I like thrushes. So brown.

  16. Hi garden crew:) Very nice day today --actually got mowing, trimming and weeding done not all at once though, lol. Sadly I saw a dead bluebird in the backyard --not sure what happened to him --we also have a nice big woodpecker who comes to entertain us, hahah. Think the old woody woodpecker cartoons and you are on the money --he could be his twin. I sadly never think to take pictures, lol.
    I'm sure everyone is busy in the yard. We went to Lowes today too --just browsing while hubby picked up some pipes/fittings for the new pump. Have a great night ya'll! Oh Sidekick saw his lizard friend and while I was weeding informed me that he saw a bunch of baby snakes by a dead tree stump, ACK!!! I hope he listens to what we told him and stays away from the snakes this year.

  17. Tina I'm doing ok. Yes it is hot here so can't do much from about noon till after 4/5, humidity bad.
    I haven't put meal worms out yet, need to find where I can purchase them.
    Had to put sprinkler on veggies today before sun got to them. It is beginning to get dry. Cropped & washed some collards for neighbor across the street. He works at prison & brings me things they've grown there. It's good & helps with g-bill. He's by himself. Nice person.
    I just got done putting some pics into folders in puter. Time consuming--my eyes started to cross. Figured I need to quit. Will send you the latest pics of roses made with my new toy.
    Have a good night.

  18. Been busy today but only 2 hours spent in garden. I got red Periwinkle, Blue Daze and Wave Petunias in the ground. Also did a bit of leveling with dirt. Hate that messy job! argggg... Then did Household CEO Chores of taking care of bills and mail that has been piling up! Hate that job too but if I want to have electricity to run my wonderful air conditioner, I must pay those stinking bills...

    Found out at the last minute that our friend from Tx was extended his TDY trip so we invited him and his co-worker to stay with us for the night for a cook out before they head back to TX. I dont believe in drinking and driving so they will spend the night with us! Looking forward to kicking back and grilling and enjoying my yard. They will have to look the other way from the weeds by the patio! I made Potato salad and Cole slaw tonight and they are stopping by the commissary for meat around noon time. So I will be MIA tomorrow as no time to get on puter to chat. Will have to make the beds in both guest rooms. Cats have been sneaking under the covers and I am sure they left pretty shiny black hairs so I need to get fresh sheets on.... Their coming by will put me behind my schedule but I probably need the break. I may have a drink with them too if I feel like it! Saint sure needs a drink, he has been stressed a bit at work lately. He will interview a possible new employeed tomorrow. We hope he knows his computer stuff!

    Lola, before we discovered Wild Birds Unlimited store here, we got the meal worms at PetsMart. You have to ask for them. And you only get about 25 or so in a small container but that is how we started with the birds. But we already had the bluebirds. Wren, Sparrow, Chickadee, Titmouse and some others will eat them too. It is just fun to watch them gobble them down.... Don’t recall the price we paid as that was sooo long ago. We get 1,000 for $10.00 at bird store. Way better deal then Petsmart…

    We ran by Lowes and picked up the stones to replace the brick I stole from my planters. Now the planters will look much better. I never did really like them with the brick holes showing. Looked a bit too redneck. I will use the rest of the brick to add to the pathway, making an entrance... Oh boy, more digging and pounding bricks into the ground! arggg.... That is not my favorite thing to do but needs to be done...

    Night all....

  19. Skeeter you are so right about the nest and I just never gave it a thought so now I will get rid of it. Probably too late for this year but it will be ready for next year.

  20. Hi Tina, sorry so late in commenting, this post snuck by me. Your arbor is a beautiful color, is that what you were painting? How nice that the robins didn't mind your touching their babies, I had heard many years ago that if your scent was on the nest, they would abandon it, glad to see that is not true. Looking forward to seeing the honeysuckle post. We have the Japanese type too, it is starting to bloom now and smells heavenly, but it a thug. The sempervirens growing on ferngulley is orange and beautiful, but has no scent. Does Dropmore have fragrance?

  21. Anonymous, Good you got the yardwork done-more rain coming. Be careful around those snakes! Vonna was just telling me she had a nest of copperheads at her place. Not good!

    Lola, The picture thing on the computer is SO time consuming! I feel your pain. How is Mr. Lincon?

    Skeeter, Breaks are good! No matter the reason! Have fun with your company. I would like to see the planters you stole bricks from.

    Mom, I don't think all birds build new nests. I know bluebirds do. Not sure of robins. Sparrows usually just keep adding to their nests when they have their many, many broods. When birds build new nests they often build them in different spots it seems.

    Frances, That is a common misconception about baby birds. I always let people hold the babies here. The moms and dads always come back. Remember when our mothers told us, "Don't touch the babies or the mom won't come back?" I think that is where it came from. Some birds will abandon their nests if disturbed, notably quail and water birds. Not the cardinals, titmouse, robins, bluebirds, chickadees, sparrows and finches. We have found all of these and held cardinals, bluebirds, finches and robins. The other three we couldn't reach as they were in fence poles (titmouse), a gourd I painted (sparrows), and an enclosed birdhouse (chickadee). I often wish I could tame one baby bird but I don't have the patience or heart to mess with it. Gardening for them is enough.

    I am not sure if the Dropmore has a fragrance. I am thinking no since I did smell them and don't remember a fragrance. I'll check it out again to be sure though. I do like the color. I thought it would not be invasive, but it too is a thug. The Japanese kind is heavenly when it blooms.

  22. Baby robins - how sweet! Now that is spring.

  23. Yes Sarah, In Maine we all know spring has arrived when we see the robins. May was my favorite month in Europe. That and December because of the bonfires and gluhwein and volksmarching. I hope spring is near for you too and I am thinking with all those bluebells it surely is!

  24. The baby birds at my mil's are on a post on the inside of there privacy fence. Next time I go over there I will get some pics of them should be this weekend.

  25. Ah Sarah, I bet they are titmouse birds. Please post about them so we can see them if you are able to. If not, just email me the photo so I can see!

  26. Thanks for asking, but have not heard from Mr. Lincoln. Seems he is very busy. Or I just plain scared him off. lol