Aug 26, 2009

An Indian Robin family on the terrace...

Dee came back from the terrace on a Sunday morning and said there was a birds’ nest in a broken, hollow cement mask (‘drishti gombe,' a mask that's put up so that no one casts an evil eye) on the terrace.

The drishti gombe
I was excited and ran up to check it out. I went and peeped into this mask and out came a dark little bird fluttering its wings in fright. I was as scared as the little bird was! Then, after the bird flew out to a distance, I peeped in, and lo and behold! There was this little nest made of dried grass, and three little eggs in it!
Three little eggs in the nest

And the bird which flew out and sat with its partner on an electric wire started screaming in a rather strange way. I walked back silently and watched them from a distance. The female was dark brown and the male was black. The female sat closer to the nest, while the male was at a distance.

The vantage point

A couple of minutes after I moved away, the female came to the nest, looked around and went inside to hatch the eggs! And it didn’t seem to get out of there. And I too didn’t want to bother the little avians.

About a week after we spotted the nest, two of the eggs had hatched. What were out of the eggs were literally two lumps of black flesh which kind of had a head and a body. (I felt they looked like a zygote shown in pics!). And of course they had reddish beaks, which were always open, hungry for food. After two more days the third one hatched too.

Three new-borns

And now, it was the female’s turn to sit on the vantage point and watch, while the black male with a white streak on wings would fetch something with its beak and feed the little ones.

Daddy with food for hungry li'l ones

This continued, with the female keeping a watch on the nest, and the male feeding the ever hungry little ones, with beaks always open to gulp in whatever their daddy got. Day by day the little ones grew, developing feathers and now looking more like birds.

The li'l ones cuddled

Finally one evening when I went to check out my new little friends, the nest was empty. And along with two birds on the vantage point, there were three more little ones around a nearby bush. They seemed to be highly excited to see the colorful world outside their nest. They were flying and sitting up on a bush, flying down to the ground, picking insects, chirping, playing..... Wow... it was indeed a sight! But I missed seeing the little ones learn to fly.... how the parents got the young ones out of the nest, how long did it take for them to fly.......

These Indian robins, by making their home on my terrace, got a special place in my heart, made me interested in bird watching...... I wish many more birds build their homes around mine....


  1. Ummm.. nice one.

    Not sure if you have given a thought about the line, '...The female sat closer to the nest, while the male was at a distance.', when you wrote it.

    Mother is always very protective about her babies in all the species I think...

  2. @ Anantha
    Well, as per my observation about these birds, when there were eggs in the nest the female used to be around the nest all the time and the male would be watching from a distance most of the time.
    And when the eggs hatched, it was the male's turn to feed the babies, and the female would just keep a watch from a slight distance, which i found surprising.
    May be Chandu can throw us some more light on this.....

  3. you have a knack in expressing ur thoughts.. this article has created a great deal of interest in me for 'bird-watching'. The photos are really great :)

  4. This is such a wonderful post and the pictures make it all the more interesting. I remember that there was a farm in Canada where this guy had attached a webcam right over the nest of bald eagle and anyone could watch it 24/7, as he was feeding the video live to a website. I got so much used to watching it every morning to see what was happening with the eggs and the whole process of it.

    Again, a remarkable post and thanks for sharing.

  5. @ Anu
    Thank u so much Anu.... Bird watching is such an interesting thing....

    @ Ricky
    Thanks Ricky.... Oh how i wish i knew about this video.... Do send me links of it if any....

  6. Hey sum, although I am not a bird expert, let me comment. In some birds both male and female share responsibilities and in some cases one of them divide it, in some cases they do in shifts. But usually the female takes care of hatching the eggs, that's why you see it when eggs are around. The same is applied for feeding it, they share it usually. This post makes a good observation. ~Chandu

  7. Now a piece of advice- Some birds abort their nests and young one's if they come in contact with humans, so during breeding time, watch them from distance. I am glad you didn't use flash to click the nest pics.So all set for joining the bird watchers club. I tell you it's addictive and interesting and you already started it in fact. You can join the "bngbirds" yahoo groups and more on that later...

  8. great pics and observations Sum :) Back home, we have had several dove's turning our grill into a maternity ward..and we usually end up taking more care of them,as we try to protect them from crows and other birds..we've also seen 'flying lessons'. It's amazing!

  9. Here's the main site that lists all the videos from different eagle's nest from all over North America:

    I used to watch the Hornby's Island video but am not sure if it is active now, but do check it out.

  10. @ Chandu
    Yeah, Chandu.... i was indeed very careful not to touch the placeholder of nest too. I remember mom used to tell this when sparrows were in plenty and came into our house often...

    @ Preeti
    Wow! thats great... ande seeing flying lessons from so close would be so amazing!

    @ Ricky
    Thanks for the link, Ricky. I'll check it out...

  11. wow.. its amazing.. its wonderful... u guys r very lucky to hv been able to go thru' such an experience..
    liked the pictures n the way u've made the story.. great work...

  12. @ RP
    Thanks Prasad.... It was indeed an amazing experience....

  13. Hi Sumana, this is a really nice post...I liked the way you expressed things, especially with the stills...Wish you could have called me to watch this 'little wonder-ful nest' :-)
    Anyways, great it was :)