Last night, Bill and I experienced the scenario that no parent ever wants to experience. Last night, our robin did not come home.
It started out as a normal evening, with Mrs. Robin hanging out in the nest and incubating her clutch. Shortly before 10:00, we saw Mrs. Robin leave the nest. Initially, we weren't concerned. We assumed that she was just making a quick excursion down to the pond to dig up some worms for a bedtime snack. So we watched the robincam, and we waited patiently for her to return. Five minutes... ten minutes... still no sign of Mrs. Robin. If you read yesterday's "What to Expect When Your Robin is Expecting" post, you'll recall that the mother robin isn't supposed to leave her eggs unattended for more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time. The minutes quickly turned to hours, and there was still no sign of Mrs. Robin.
I checked the robincam before going to bed at 11:30, and Mrs. Robin was still missing. Bill checked the robincam periodically throughout the night, but Mrs. Robin still had not returned. Growing increasingly concerned, Bill searched the yard around 5:00 AM, but Mrs. Robin was nowhere to be found. Bill broke the news to me when I woke up this morning. Needless to say, we were both quite concerned, but there was nothing we could do except wait. Finally, around 6:30 AM, I checked the webcam, and there was Mrs. Robin, sitting in the nest as if nothing had happened.
We have no idea what Mrs. Robin was up to all night, but we are extremely grateful that she returned to the nest unharmed. Before making any unfounded accusations, Bill and I wanted to make sure that we had our facts straight. So we reviewed the robincam footage from last night, and the footage confirmed that Mrs. Robin left the nest at 9:59 last night and didn't return until 6:02 this morning. We plan to have a serious talk with Mrs. Robin later today. We will stress the importance of being a responsible parent. We will let her know -- in a firm, yet loving manner -- that it is not acceptable for her to leave the little ones unattended all night while she goes out and parties.