It was only a few days after that first robin moved on (see Front Door Bird, 5-6-09 and Front Door Bird: The Final Chapter, 5-27-09) that another robin moved in to the abandoned nest on the front porch. We think it might have been the same mama bird as it wasn't a nest that was easy to see unless you knew it was there, tucked at the inside top of that column, and she did look a lot like the first bird by way of her markings, so for argument's sake, let's just assume that robin number one came back for another round of motherhood.
This time she laid four eggs and all four babies hatched and grew robust with mama's endless meals. It seemed like every time we came or went from the house she was up there shoving food into their screaming faces. The novelty of it was pretty much lost on all of us this time around as we made no attempt to either use another entrance nor to tiptoe around so as not to disturb the birds, and the mama robin barely gave us a glance as we came and went, let alone attempt to lure us away from her babies by flying off in a nervous tizzy twenty times a day. We quite peacefully co-existed for several weeks, with my only complaint the growing pile of bird poop on the porch beneath the nest as well as the need to get across the porch as quickly as possible to avoid being covered in tiny bird mites that our porch had now become infested with, courtesy of our endless feathered houseguests.
The babies grew quite large, to the point where the mother, when sitting on them, appeared to be levitating out of the nest as she floated above the rim and up into space. And then one sunny morning Griffin was heading out to check the mailbox when he spied what he thought was the mother, dead on the porch. It turned out to be one of the babies and it was still alive, though in shock from his fall. All the other babies had clearly successfully flown off, but this little guy just didn't have the horsepower. We got out the gloves and the tall ladder and I held the silent baby while Griffin climbed up to the nest. As I handed the baby up to him it began to scream like a maniac and out of nowhere mama appeared and was noisily freaking out above our heads. The baby was carefully placed back in the nest and we moved back into the house to watch if the mother would reject the baby.
It took some time before she made an appearance, but when she did, she brought food and comfort, climbing into the nest with her little one. And then we all got busy with our lives and didn't pay much attention to the robins until later that afternoon when we were heading out to do some errands and Griffin and I discovered the baby had fallen from the nest again. We took a few moments before leaving to place the baby back in the nest, but after this second fall from such a high place onto a hard, wooden porch, the baby wasn't looking so good and we figured it was just a matter of time before the baby passed away.
Whether mama came back again while we were gone I have no idea, but when came home we couldn't see the baby's head poking up out of the nest so Griffin climbed back up to see if the baby had somehow miraculously successfully flown off on his third attempt, but alas it was not to be. The baby had died while we were away. Griffin took the nest and baby down, we placed it in a little bag and after saying a prayer for the poor little bird whose life was so short, disposed of his body.
The nest is now gone and this will hopefully put an end (for this season at any rate) to the life cycle that keeps repeating itself just outside our front door. All that's left is a small patch of mold behind where the nest was built, a persistent poo stain that no amount of water seems to wash away, and all those irritating little mites that haven't yet figured out that there is nothing out there to sustain them anymore.
Life is almost back to normal out there just beyond our front door, and it's a good thing because my heart simply cannot take watching more baby birds struggle and suffer and die, wheel of life or not.