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After discovering a robin's nest in our front tree, just outside Jill's window, we anxiously awaited the day the baby birds would hatch. They hatched on Thursday, June 13, 2002, and we watched them grow up until they learned to fly just 11 days later on Monday, June 24. (Click on any of the photos for a larger view.)

Friday, June 14, 2002: The baby birds are one day old. At this point, we think there are only two of them. They are completely featherless and their eyes are closed. In this shot, you can see two bluish-reddish babies.
Saturday, June 15, 2002: At two days, the babies have tiny tufts of hair sticking out of the tops of their heads. We've discovered that there are three of them now, and we've named them Hannah, Hagar, and Hepsibah. (That's a "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" reference, for you movie buffs.)

Sunday, June 16, 2002: The babies have lost their bald, alien-looking look, and have a light fuzz all over. They are constantly hungry, but usually sleep while Mama Bird is out gathering food.

Our cat has figured out that something is going on in the nest, and likes to sit at the screen door watching them. We'd like to think that she's watching over them in a protective manner, but we suspect that she's just hungry for a tasty baby bird snack.

The baby in the front (Hannah?) gulps down something tasty, while Hagar waits his/her turn. Hepsibah is squished into the back of the nest and likes her uncluttered view on that side.
Monday, June 17, 2002: Poor Mama Bird! H, H, and H are never satisfied.
Tuesday, June 18, 2002: The babies are now five days old, and have small wing feathers and fuzz or feathers all over their bodies. They are so large that Mama Bird rarely tries to sit in the nest anymore.
The babies have finally opened their eyes and love to peek out over the nest.
Proud, beautiful Mama Bird takes a well-deserved rest while the babies nap.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002: Still less than a week old, the babies spend most of their time hanging their heads over the edge of the nest, sound asleep or watching the world around them with their mouths open just in case. Their feathers are coming in nicely but they still have some funny looking fuzz sticking out of the tops of their heads. Hannah checks out the crazy lady taking photos of her...

... but she quickly falls asleep again.

Thursday, June 20, 2002: The babies are starting to stretch their wings often, and have beautiful feathers now. Hagar and Hannah are getting used to having their picture taken, and Hannah shows us her ferocious beak with sharp teeth inside (click on the photo to see a larger view with a great shot of those pearly whites). It's hard to believe these babies were just hatching from their eggs a week ago.

Friday, June 21, 2002: Hannah shows off her chest feathers, which are speckled, but beginning to show robin coloring. Papa Bird has now shown up and helps dive-bomb photographers who try to get too close to his brood.

Saturday, June 22, 2002: It's getting harder and harder to photograph the babies up close. They are now afraid of us, and will duck down quickly when they see me coming with my camera. This shot was taken from a distance before they were able to hide completely. They have full feathers now and like to stand tall near the edge of the nest when they aren't being photographed.

Sunday, June 23, 2002: The baby birds now have tiny tail feathers, less than an inch long. The rest of their feathers, including their wings, look well-developed, but they still have the tell-tale marks of babyhood, including spotted chests and funny little tufts of fuzz sticking out of both sides of their heads.

Monday, June 24, 2002: Our babies have left the nest at the ripe old age of 11 days. Apparently, they learned to fly sometime this morning. One has taken up residence in a nearby branch, but we don't know where the other two went. Mama and Papa Bird are both nearby on the lawn, so we know they're still in our front yard.

We're going to miss our little ones.

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