Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Failure to Launch

When Baskin Robin bravely ventured out of the nest yesterday, we assumed that his brothers and sisters would soon follow suit. So, we've been eagerly watching the Robincam, hoping to catch a glimpse of another young robin spreading its wings and venturing out into the world. But so far, no one is leaving. The kids spend a lot of time peering over the edge of the nest, contemplating the distance to the ground. They often puff up their chests and flap their wings as if they're going to leave, but they always change their minds at the last minute.

Like so many twenty-somethings these days, our young robins seem to prefer the comfort and convenience of remaining in the nest. I guess I can't really blame them, because they have a pretty cushy life here in the nest: they're living rent-free in a nice neighborhood, their bush provides plenty of shelter from inclement weather, and Mom and Dad have been providing all of the worms that a young robin could possibly want. Meanwhile, poor Mrs. Robin is running herself ragged, trying to teach Baskin how to fly and hunt for worms, while still tending to the other robins back in the nest. Although the kids seem quite content with this arrangement, we suspect that their days in the nest are limited.

For starters, the nest is getting incredibly crowded. The three remaining robins are looking very -- um, how can I say this nicely? -- well fed. Now, I'm trying to be diplomatic, because I don't want to make insensitive comments that will cause the kids to struggle with body image issues later in life. But seriously, these birds are huge. In fact, the nest has gotten so crowded that there isn't even room for all of the kids to sit on the floor of the nest simultaneously. Consequently, Robin Banks now spends most of his time sitting on top of his younger sister, Esther. Poor Esther! I think a little bit of exercise (in the form of flying and worm hunting) would be good for all of them.

In addition to the space issues, Mr. and Mrs. Robin appear to be rapidly losing patience with their free-loading children. Lately, we've noticed that Mom and Dad are feeding the kids much less frequently than before. Occasionally, one of the parents will return to the nest, give all of the kids a good nudge, and then fly away without giving the kids any worms. We suspect that this is their not-so-subtle way of letting the kids know that it's time for them to leave the nest and become productive members of society.

According to Wikipedia, all of the baby robins should leave the nest within two days of each other. Perhaps the mother robin kicks any remaining kids out of the nest after two days(?). As of 05:00 tomorrow morning, it will have been two days since Baskin Robin left the nest, so I guess we'll find out what happens then. Stay tuned...

Time Lapse from 6.8.2011

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