Yesterday morning I sat at home drafting a post to tell you all about the lovely robin family that had chosen my garden as the place to bring up their brood.  Friday was spent in the garden watching them busily collecting bugs and grubs for their babies that were only a couple of days old at the most.  Yesterday at about five o’clock I went to the end of the garden to take a quick peek, but nothing prepared me for what I found.

The beautifully formed mossy nest had been turfed out of its flowerpot home, leaves and twigs scattered all over the pile of flowerpots on which they had built their nest.  And no baby robins.  My heart sunk, I felt as if my insides had dropped into my feet. 

My best guess is that the fat horrid smelly stupid nasty mean black-and-white cat that we see in our garden occasional filled his belly Friday night on my precious nest of baby robins.  Five tiny little bundles of black fluff that Mr and Mrs Robin had spent days if not months nurturing – collecting nest materials, hatching their five dinky sky blue eggs, diligently keeping them warm until they hatched, and in the past few days madly finding juicy insects on which to feed their young.

I had a good sob on the phone to my mom, who listened and consoled me.  I am utterly gutted.  The garden is so quiet today without the robins beavering about.  I have stood and watched Mr Robin sing his jolly tune in the tree and wonder how he can sound so happy, to think that they will start all over again looking for a nest site, building their nest, and hatching another brood. 

I have rescued the tiny nest

I have rescued the tiny nest

Below you can find the happy post I wrote yesterday morning about the month leading up to this sad day.  I was so excited and honoured to have the robins choose our garden to bring up their family, and to think that they’ve all been taken in such a horrid way is really saddening.  But as my mom solemnly reminded me, it’s nature, and that there’s not a lot we can do.  I will be putting up some bird boxes in our garden to provide future robin families with a more secure and safe location for a home should they wish to nest in our garden another year.

If anyone has suggestions for cat-proofing a garden, or putting them off from coming into your garden I would be very grateful to hear from you. 

the tiny moss-filled robin's nest

the tiny moss-filled robin's nest

The original post:

the saga of Mr and Mrs Robin

Over the last month we have been on tenterhooks.  A lovely pair of robins have decided that our garden is a suitable place to bring up their brood.  Which is fantastic. 

Just under a month ago, we discovered the nest that they had been busy building.  At the end of our garden is our shed, and because there is a cherry tree in the way, it’s not pushed right back up against the fence, so there’s a space where we store ‘stuff’ – the compost bin, bamboo canes, and plant pots.  It is these plant pots that the robins picked as a nest location.  One day, when all the birds were busy at the end of March gathering beakfuls of garden rubbish to build their nests with, I spent ages watching the two robins who were filling their beaks and then diving behind the shed.  On further investigation I discovered this:

p1110406

The robins had created the most delightful nest in and on a pile of flowerpots.  This tiny little nest has caused us quite a bit of strife over the past month. 

Firstly we were concerned of it’s location: a potentially unstable pile of flowerpots, at cat level etc.  Then we discovered it full of tiny pale blue eggs.  But then we didn’t see Mr or Mrs Robin for ages, and thought they’d abandoned their tiny brood of eggs.  My mom is a bit of a bird boff, so she has been regularly called for advice.  She told us that Mrs Robin wouldn’t sit on the nest until there was five eggs.  N checked and there were five eggs.  A couple of days passed and still no sign of the robins.  We resigned ourselves to the fact the robins had probably seen sense and realised it wasn’t a safe place to bring up babies.  Plus the fact that we’d seen the neighbours fat black and white cat at the end of the garden one night.

I was doing some gardening and went round the back of the shed to get some bamboo canes when I saw these tiny black beady eyes staring out at me.  Slowly I retreated down the garden – Mrs Robin was sat on her eggs! 

look closely and you can see Mrs Robin's beady eye

look closely and you can see Mrs Robin's beady eye

The weeks have passed and a couple of days ago both robins have been sighted frequently in the garden with their beaks full – full of grubs and juicy worms.  At the sight of this, I have had a brief peak behind the shed to see a tiny black head and little yellow line of a beak.  Mr and Mrs Robin are now proud parents! 

Yesterday I did quite a bit in the garden, and every so often I would look up and see Mr or Mrs Robin sat on the fence, looking at me as if to say, “Well go on then, go away.”  So I would stop what I was doing, get up, and walk back towards the house.  By the time I reached the patio, I glanced over my should and they would dive behind the shed and reappear a minute later, beak empty.

Obviously, it’s still quite a nerve-racking time, with those tiny helpless little baby robins in their flowerpot nest, and the thought of the fat cat about.  However, they are incredibly quiet and Mr and Mrs Robin are feeding them up well, so hopefully they will be ready to fledge in no time at all.  I shall continue to do my bit and shriek and clap at the fat cat whenever it is seen nearby. 

the pile on which the robins nest is perched!

the pile on which the robins nest is perched!

Advertisements