Tuesday 18 July 2017

Veranda Stitching and Sad Nest News

Most of the sunny days you will find me on the front veranda stitching away and Miss Murphy with me.  Rex is too "on guard" to join us...alerts at every butterfly and bird and doesn't relax.  Since I've sat on porches summertime stitching most of my life, I don't think of it as an elderly pursuit as such.

But summer has arrived and in between showers, I've been enjoying lots of garden and outdoor time.

Below is a flowering bush called "Summer Wine" which has burgundy leaves and an interesting bloom.  The landscapers must have been very fond of it because there are three here which I pruned back hard last fall.  This seems to have led to massive blooming along lovely trailing branches this year.  Or maybe it responds well to lots and lots of rain.

Meanwhile, our resident robin did choose one nest of the thirteen starts, finished it and laid three eggs.  The male and female have been very busy feeding the three hatchlings.

The answer to my multiple nest problem.   


Q. Is it common for a robin to build more than one nest at a time?
A. This is a question we hadn't been asked before, so we wrote to Len Eiserer, the author of The American Robin: A Backyard Institution. Len answered,

Building multiple nests simultaneously happens every now and again with robins. One started 26 different nests on roof rafters of a garage under construction; another built 8 on successive steps of a fire escape. Support from underneath is the primary site selection factor for the female robin — it's more important than concealment. Because some human structures provide repetitive sites with strong support, the female can get seduced into building multiple nests.

This is an example of "supernormal stimuli" — artificial stimuli that are even more effective than those provided by Mother Nature (tree limbs). Animals have a hard time resisting supernormal stimuli. There are many examples. Your robin will probably settle on one site and just lay eggs in that nest, or else just incubate eggs in that nest after laying, say, one egg in one nest and two in the other. She won't lay two complete sets of eggs and try to incubate both of them at the same time.

Sad News

Something attacked the nest overnight and all three hatchlings have died.  The dogs barked in the night and I got up to look about but didn't see anything.  I just wonder what could have come up on the veranda and gotten up at the nest.  The nest is in pieces on the ground.  

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