Sometimes Nature Sucks

bonz(WI)June 30, 2006

I have a chain link fence that is thickly covered with ivy, a perfect place for bird nests so I thought. A Robin's nest was built close to where my hose is which I use every day. As Mom sat on the eggs, we exchanged pleasantries each morning and I was thrilled when the babies hatched. Those tiny bald little guys were so cute. I enjoyed watching their rapid growth and the busy parents feeding the always hungry babies. Yesterday I noticed dad was agitated, flying into the nest area sort of hovering but not going into the nest. I walked over to check it out and found two babies gone and the third one badly mangled & near death. After making the decision to end his suffering I walked back to the porch for a good cry contemplating how unfair things seem at times. But here is the strange thing that happened next. Both parents visited the empty nest and then flew up to a tree in my yard making strange bird calls. Within a few minutes there were a whole bunch of Robins in the tree, probably 10 or so. All doing the same strange bird calls. They all flew way after a few minutes. I told myelf they were having a memorial for the babies or a wake. I've never seen anything like this it was amazing. Maybe CD3 or any other bird person can tell me if what I witnessed is common.

I sure missed visiting with them this morning............

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oh, bonz! :(

you have great observation skills. my theory is another bird, perhaps a grackle or a crow- not sure on grackles but i have seen crows carry off other birds' babies- raided this nest. i would think if it was a racoon or squirrel, the poor mangled one would have been consumed?

dh witnessed something similar to this so perhaps it applies. do you know how some birds mob owls and hawks? well, dh said a hawk was low flying through the yard. this isn't even an accurate description due to its speed. anyway, all the birds went "crazy" and grouped. i am nto sure if there were robins, but they are around. we mainly have starlings and sparrows.

perhaps you came in just after the "attack" and were witnessing a warning call. or, the calls were calling the rest of them to flock- strength in numbers.

so sorry bonz....

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 2:03AM
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I know! I had been enjoying all the birds feeding their babies around the pond when a hawk came out of nowhere and grabbed a baby. A whole lot of small birds mobbed that thing diving at it and screeching, it did not let go of the baby though. There was a nest of Robins by the pond I had been watching. I showed them very quietly to my son so we could watch them daily. I went out one morning and there were just little wings everywhere and one baby sitting on the ground scared, wet and shaking. I did evrything to keep my son from finding that scene. Yes, nature can be cruel.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 9:49AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Bonz, birds will gather to see what's happening when one bird is in distress. Birders often use "tishing" to draw birds out of the brush. "Tishing" is typically what a distressed wren sounds like.

Here's a link - the last part is a robin in distress - almost like a desperate laugh??

Sockmonkey, I hate losing birds to the hawks too. They really cause a stir at the feeder when they explode out of the brush for an attack. But from my experience they miss much more than they catch. And once the bluejays sound the alarm all the birds react. If you have crows around, watch for them to chase the hawk off - it is quite an aerobatic battle to watch several crows go after a hawk.

Here is a link that might be useful: Robin's sound

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 10:44PM
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thanks for the explanation, jeanner!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 2:54AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Oh Bonz!

I am so sorry your babies died! Someone raided one of our Robin's nests two months ago and ate one of the parents as well. :-(

The birds here have a similar alarm call when Daisy comes out into the yard. What do they know that we don't?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 7:57AM
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Jean, the beginning of that recording is the first sound I hear every morning (at 5:10am today). I never knew it was a robin, until I went out one morning and actually saw it up in one of our trees. The last sound I've heard from a young robin that has been hanging around our yard. Every time the cat goes out to help me garden, there he is up in the tree, saying, "Incoming kitty! INCOMING KITTY!" LOL

I'm sorry you had to deal with that situation, too, Bonz. I haven't had any nest raiders lately, but a couple years ago, I saw some combat between (get this) a hummingbird and a scrub jay. It seemed the jay invited himself to a party where he wasn't welcome. The hummer ran him off like nobody's business!

Unfortunately, we also find some baby sparrows that have fallen out of their nests over night. Those are the ones I can't save, and I always get pretty bummed out when I find them in the morning. :(


    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 11:17AM
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It's helps to see that you all have had similar experiences and know that incredibly sad feeling, thanks for sharing, it means a lot.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 12:22PM
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