My husband and I live in Villa 1, in the Primrose Retirement Community, Marion, Ohio. We eat our noon meal in the Primrose dining room with resident-friends we have known for years. As it happens, I almost always sit at a corner table facing a southern window looking out onto a courtyard, complete with gazebo.
This courtyard is nicely landscaped with shrubs and colorful seasonal flowers. There is a wrought iron structure in a protected corner about seven feet tall topped with an open globe-like structure about the size of a small basketball, so placed for a climbing ivy plant. It is in the spring of 2014, within this very globe that our story begins.
A pair of robins carefully built a very sturdy nest. From my vantage point, I watched them. They successfully raised their family and then pursued their own lives after they had reached the empty-nest syndrome as nearly all of us at Primrose had done.
Early Spring 2015
In April of 2015 from my very same seating, I took note of that strong robin’s nest that had survived the winter well. I wondered if robins ever used the same nest again the following year. Soon I noticed one scratching and pulling materials from a few piles of winter debris, then flying to the old nest, tucking and pushing in the new twigs and dead leaves. I would like to say that she was redecorating her former home. How do I know she was the same robin from last year? I don’t, who can tell one robin from another? She was a very “savvy” robin. Why go to all that trouble of building when you can find an empty nest, just do a little upkeep and move in no matter the nest’s history?
April 25, 2015
It has been a cool and wet April, but maybe robins don’t notice all that much. By April 25, I realized that a robin was quietly resting, nestled down into the cavity of the nest which I was guessing held 3 – 5 robin eggs or soon would. I watched her the whole lunch hour, she didn’t leave the nest once.
April 27, 2015
I looked from my window as I took my seat for our noon meal. There she was at about 11:57 AM. I watched her a few minutes then I saw her fly off. Within three minutes, another robin had flown in. Or was it the same robin? This robin didn’t settle down into the nest, but seemed to be perching on the rim of the nest. Had she returned? I watched steadily while my coffee cooled more than I really wanted it to. I wanted to see what would happen next. Nothing. This robin was just standing there, not down into the nest at all. Then, it stepped out and stood on one of the supporting globe rings.
After about 15 minutes, I decided that it was the male robin guarding the nest. Finally, he flew up on the Primrose eave and started hopping up to the peak of the roof. It was very difficult to keep him in sight. I got up from the table and walked to the window to keep him in view, but he was gone. When I had reseated myself, I looked out at the nest again and there she was, all settled in. Guess she had gone out for her lunch.
I will “google” American Robins to check on the incubation time for their eggs. Don’t want to miss anything. More next time.
Submitted Betty Huffman
1550 Wellness Drive, Villa # 1
Marion, OH 43302