Right Outside My Office Window I’m Looking at THIS.

I have no chance of accomplishing anything beyond the most basic personal hygiene over the next month.  Why you ask?  Because of this.

A robin's egg lays alone in a nest, the bright blue vibrant against the brown of the twigs and leaves of the nest.

Right outside my office window there is a window box full of decrepit pine branches, long dried out Christmas greenery and one bright blue excuse.  An excuse to close my laptop, stare out the window, eat at my desk and rationalize not showering because robins are widely known to hatch when you’re rinsing out conditioner.  Or Creme Rinse as my sister (who still uses a paper bank book) calls it.

Let’s take a step back for a second.  I like to remove my Christmas greenery exactly when I can’t be bothered to look at it anymore.  That’s usually the day pine needles get stuck to the sunscreen on my arms as I walk past it.

I’ve never had a problem with this method before.  But this year, just outside my office window, a robin decided to take up residency and that’s where it’s going to be for the next 3 weeks.  Which means I won’t be able to get rid of the Christmas greenery in my window box until almost June. That’ll give me a nice leg up in the neighbourhood whack job rankings.

It was a fun distraction from my work this little nest building. I’d type a little at my laptop and see the robin packing mud into its nest.  Type a little, see the robin squishing the nest into place with its bum.  Type a little, see a mourning dove move in and the robin assault it.

Before I knew it I’d stopped working on my laptop completely (other than to Google the nesting and hatching habits of robins) and spent hours staring at a birds ass.  Sometimes I do it out the window and sometimes I watch my video footage.  You can’t have a robin’s nest so close and not train a camera on it can you?  I installed one of my many Arlo security cameras right above the nest.  It records footage automatically when there’s movement in the nest and I can press a button to take a photo as well.  The photo of the egg at the top of this post is from my real camera, not the security camera.  The security camera takes good pictures, but not that good.

A robin's red breast is front and centre as it sits on the first of four eggs it will lay over four days.

This is the quality of the photos with the security camera.  Good enough to identify this robin if it steals a package from my front porch, but not good enough to make it into National Geographic.

In the past day I’ve watched and learned how a robin forms a nest. I’ve seen it puff out its little feathers and lay the first of its eggs.  AND IT’S AMAZING.

I’ll save all of that stuff for my beginning to ending post of the robin but today I thought you’d like to see nature in harmony up close. I call this Dance of the Mourning Dove.

I figured that keeping all of this to myself was moderately selfish so I’ve been saving the footage and taking pictures, and once the whole event is over and the birds have flown away I’ll be bringing you an in depth post on the entire sequence of events from laying to hatching to feeding and flying.

It will all culminate with the grand finale of – me removing the dead greenery from my window box.

And washing my hair.

→Follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting more Robin’s nest pics & videos.←

 

58 Comments

  1. Martina says:

    The video is of shovel sharpening, not mourning doves!

  2. Marna says:

    How cute! What a wonderful excuse not to do anything! Love it, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Linda in Illinois says:

    Shovel sharpening not morning doves dancing.

  4. Grammy says:

    Lifelong birder here — I never get tired of this stuff. Thanks for the preview and I am waiting with bated breath for the full-length feature.

  5. jo foster says:

    Please send us another email when you fix the video

    • Karen says:

      Video is fixed! ~ karen

    • ok ok stop with the said a bil lion times about the video mix up.. ahhh Karen you are so great. Witty,awesome, and just plain straight up. I love your site and i would die for a sister like you. I still use paper checks and just bought my kids cream rinse…lol… keep being your dreamy perfect self. its a special treat you give… xoxo

  6. Cathy Reeves says:

    I didn’t have cameras mounted near mine but I did have fancy dryer vent material around the trunk of the tree viburnum to keep the neighborhood cat(s) from getting to the eggs* as they did the year before. But whenever the mom was away I’d snap photos to mark the progress. As this was very near my back door that I use 100% of the time, I took to going around, out the gate and down the scary non-illuminated driveway to my front door to come in because I worked 3-11 and Mom was sitting peacefully on the nest at midnight. The fact she flew directly at me in a “ take that, biatch!” was pretty convincing.
    Watching this process and helping the young ones fledge was the highlight of that spring. I’d love to repeat it somehow at our next home.

    *recommended by Julie Zickefoose, renown birder and very cool person who took the time to share her advice by answering my queries personally. More than once.

  7. Sabina says:

    I have a robin come back every spring trying to make a nest over the light by my side door that we use exclusively. The first year she had succeeded before I realized what was going on and the nest was too complete to disturb. I had a great time watching the whole process and happened to be home for lunch the day they all decided to fly the coop, or get pushed out by mom. I heard all this commotion, went to the door and when I opened it they all flew out! It was so exciting! The run thing around the area for a few days and I kept an eye on it, along with its mama, until it finally took off. I got some great pictures too. She comes back every year but I don’t let her build. It’s just not an idea spot. And she lets me know she’s. Oy happy with me for it, lol!

  8. Robin says:

    I appreciate this post.

  9. Jen K says:

    I see what you mean about the quality diff with the security cam, the video looks a lot more like spade sharpening than morning doves. Weird. 😉 lol

  10. Marilyn Meagher says:

    Creme rinse 🤣🤣 that’s what I call it too.

  11. KL says:

    No link at all, except to Arlo camera. Please repost!

  12. Nicole says:

    Good blogpost! How fortuitous that this robin decided to nest at your window and provide you with such amazing blog material! I’ll be following!

  13. Jane says:

    A few years ago, a robin decided to make a nest on top of the vines growing around net lights on the side of our garage. A good view from my office. It would sit in it nearly all the time. After a couple of weeks, it left and never came back. I ventured to climb up and had a look, there were 3 eggs in it. Unfortunately, the eggs never hatched. Still don’t know why the bird left. So sad! The next spring, a pair of robins built a nest next door, in the little space between the top of a column and the roof of the porch. This time the eggs hatched. It was fun following the progress.

  14. Susan Schaefer says:

    What is with the robins this year? For over the past 2 weeks – a male robin (maybe more than one?) has been throwing himself at my windows – enough to wake me up in the morning! I googled it – it’s a mating thing – he thinks the reflection is a rival and he’s trying to beat him up – however, all he is doing is (probably) giving himself a terrible headache – and pooping all over my windowsills. BTW – it doesn’t come off easily. So – Karen – that is something you need to find a solution to – how to clean excessive amounts of bird poop off of window sills. In the meantime – enjoy that sensible female robin hatching her egg.

    • PegB says:

      The robins are bombarding my front picture window. I have a covered porch walkway all along the front with 12 ft of windows. The birds think it makes a great flight path. They just wing through and sometimes catch themselves in the window. Then there is a loud BAM! And they continue on their flight.
      There is a product called cleaning vinegar. It takes bird poop off anything and safe for paints. I figure if it cleans coffee pot scaling, it will clean anything else.

  15. Darcy says:

    How clever and subtle you are, Karen, to post the wrong video to underscore how much the robin distracts you!

  16. Mary W says:

    Tell your Sister that a fellow creme rinser says Hi. My kids laugh at me when I say that. The grand kids turn to my daughter and ask her what is creme rinse. I also keep a written record of my checks, I was lucky enough to have a wren nest in my porch light, even if it went on – weird but wonderful. It was a screen porch so when her babies were ready to fly, I got a front row seat and it was amazing. She fed them everyday until the day she wanted them to fly. Then she would land on a shelf next to them and hold the food which made them get on the edge of her nest. Finally, one of the babies flew to her and got his reward. Then the next one and finally the third. They were all flying around the screen porch like a kid at the playground – so much fun. In one day, they found the hole that the dryer vent poked out and off they went into the world. Amazing. I’m so happy for you since it was a joy for me to watch, also. Wait till they fledge as you don’t want to miss that.

  17. Paula says:

    We were gone just long enough on a trip to give a mama finch time to build a nest in the (extremely wobbly) wreath on our front door. She eventually laid 4 tiny eggs, and we had to sneak in and out of the back door for a solid month while she sat on them, hatched and fledged them. Our friends hated us because we’d make them sneak in, too. Those babies were smaller than a quarter when born and looked like the ugliest, cutest, tiniest Muppets you ever saw. I can’t wait to see all your robin pics!

  18. judy says:

    This was positively wonderful. I live in America so you know I am glued to our news and scared spitless . Remembering life as lived for by such a pretty creature and her dedication to raising her babies for all of the years to come-brings my little life into a greater sense that no matter how dumb we humans can be-time rolls on in complex simplicity and carries us all with it.

  19. Marianne says:

    If you’re anxious to redecorate your window box, just hope that she stops at one set of eggs! Robins can do more than one bunch of babies per season. We have a nest on top of a porch light, and last year, after the first batch fledged, she laid more eggs – rise and repeat for a total of three batches of little ones. I read up on it a little, and apparently they do 2-3 broods per season (from Audobon web site). Just put gardening off until next year and binge-watch your robins, and maybe invest in dry shampoo because it’s going to be a long haul. 🙂

  20. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Have you ever noticed that robins have facial expressions? When they stare right at you, they look pissed off… or maybe it’s just me. And mourning doves? Just tarted up pigeons imho 😁.

  21. Angie says:

    Is this the new trend in the blog world? Birds nesting in Christmas greenery, I mean. Miss Mustard Seed has a bird nesting in her front door wreath. She has babies in hers now. She doesn’t have a security camera watching them though.

    Neither bird seems to have any signs in their nests that say “gather” or “live, laugh, love” so I think they chose their bloggers well. Your bird is definitely feisty.

  22. Jen says:

    Now you have me wondering about birds other than chickens. Do robins lay eggs every day are they more like us and lay them only when knocked up? I must know!

  23. Robin Carter says:

    Interesting…no wonder you can’t get any work done. Now you’ve gone and corrupted the rest of us #!!$@*#

  24. Debbie says:

    We had a Robins nest on our front porch. This year it was hijacked by some sparrows. Much dirtier little birds. They shit in their nest and there are babies in there. Robins are much cleaner. Now the robin has built her nest on my deck chairs. I was planning on staining my desk this month. Can’t now as there are two babies in there. I had a little party this weekend and we all had to sit on the other side of the deck. Once those babies fly the coop I’m moving her nest. I think I’ll put a window box in front of my kitchen window so my cats can enjoy the view.

  25. Beckie says:

    I watch web cams from the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology. A few years ago, a robin built a nest on the corner of their building and they (Cornell, not the robin) very kindly put a web cam up.

    I got nothing down for those weeks, after watching the eggs hatch. I ~had~ to keep watching to see them fledge. It was i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e!

    Lucky you!! And lucky us =) (because you will share!)

  26. Vikki says:

    What a beautiful and amazing gift to you! We have lots of nesting birds but none that I can see, so I can live vicariously through yours. The mourning dove was so funny–they are so doofy! I loved your video! More please……..

  27. Jane C. says:

    I have a robins’ nest at my back door — the door I use all the time to access back yard, barbecue, shed and garage. Now I’m going in and out my front door, carrying a garage door remote in my purse and walking around the house a lot. I have determined that there are three eggs in the nest and am on incubation countdown.

  28. Ruth Vallejos says:

    That blue! Right between Tiffany Blue and Fortnum and Mason’s Blue. Persian Turquoise set in gold blue. Sacred, lovely, kind, with portents of babies and spring. And a face that is nothing but beak and eyes that say “bring me worms!”.

    I worked in downtown Oakland for years – and we would get mourning doves nesting on our fire escape, putting a few sticks together and calling it a nest. Sadly, the eggs would roll through the metal slats of the fire escape landing and crash to the sidewalk below. One “smart” dove nested in the yellow light of a traffic signal. This was a good place for a nest, but she’d wake up every time the light came on. Every time, dazed and confused with eyes a-google. Proof, again, that the creator has a sense of humor.

  29. Jody says:

    Where’s Ernie? Is she enjoying Bird-o-Vision?

  30. Deanna J Chesney says:

    I really, really, really like and enjoy you. I would like to have you cloned, and given as a gift to my other “sunshine” friends. Guess your Blog will have to do, but it’s just not enough. We need daily, or at least emergency contact ability. Some days can get cloudy, but you have the ability to make the sun shine with the simplest observances of life. Bless you!

  31. Kate Budacki says:

    How funny! I helped fledge a nest of Carolina Wrens last night. Mom had built a nest in our shed on a high shelf. Wren nests are the best. Round and full of animal hair and moss and an entry hole in the middle. I had lined the exit path from the shelf to the door with couch cushions, a nice long slide to the door. However on the day they chose, no one was home to open the shed door and when I did, the shed was full of hopping little tailless birds who were then joined by the anxious parents. If you’ve ever heard a wren’s call, you know how loud this little family was. Not sure how many there were. At least five, more like six, it was like a clown car full of tiny birds. And then they were all gone and it was quiet. so fun!

  32. PegB says:

    This is amazing. Luckily, I got here when the actual bird footage was up. I have watched the eagle cams and sometimes those vids get sort of wavy, maybe when the wind blows??? I don’t know, but I am impressed with your steady video work. Also, that mourning dove was pretty cheeky!

    BTW, I follow you on IG and saw this a few days ago. You are very entertaining for this housebound grammy.

  33. Dana Studer says:

    Between George, Charlotte, Louis, April the giraffe’s first baby, then her second baby, it seems like I’m on baby watch constantly. Robin’s nests take the cake when they’re in our own yard, don’t they? We had one in a small flower pot a few yrs ago. Our daughter was maybe 6 and over the moon about it. Keep us updated!

  34. Patty Kelly says:

    Loved your video. Mother Nature is truly amazing. I have 6 birdhouses placed in our yard and thoroughly enjoy watching my tenants move in and out annually.

  35. Melissa says:

    Love this post and video- captions made me laugh. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Ritz says:

    Just wonderful!

  37. Penny says:

    Robins here in the UK are very different. They still have a red breast, but the rest of their plumage is a soft, light brown all over. No speckles. And their eggs are small and white with reddish-brown speckles. We have a few that visit our (tiny) garden on a regular basis. I swear, they can smell a spadeful of turned soil, or a recently-moved rock from half a mile away! As soon as I start work in the garden I can expect a visit. One of them will even take grubs like leatherjackets right out of your hand if you sit nice and still for just a few minutes.
    They are just as fierce as your Momma robin, though. A couple of years ago, I saw one kill all the baby blue tits in a nesting box by pecking through the tops of their tiny skulls. Mother Nature is gruesome at times.

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