American Robins are so common that we can easily take them for granted.

But All About Birds enumerates the daunting odds that make any robin’s survival quite incredible.  On average:

    • only 40% of nests successfully produce young
    • only 25% of those fledged young survive to November
    • about half of the robins alive in any year will make it to the next

Recent events on Little Crum Creek give witness to these numbers.

By the time we discovered a May nest in the holly bush, it retained only one of the usual 3-5 robin’s eggs.

Before long there were none.

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Soon, however, at least two nearby chicks fledged from other nests.

Wobbling, hopping, and flailing newly feathered wings when disturbed, these grounded fledglings mostly waited for their frequent feedings.

Partly hidden by grass, each depended on parents to gather and deliver worms & insects throughout the day.

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In a few days, each fumbled toward denser coverage in the creekside brush where occasional chirps alerted parents to their locations.

Soon I lost track, assuming the chirping calls had either blended with the chorus of all summer birds or gone silent.

But nearly a week later, a novice flier bounded across the yard chirping and chasing adult robins who did their best to ignore or escape the tireless pursuit.

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Undiminished, the youngster called & called until a mentor relented, perched beside it for a moment, and flew up into the mulberry tree.

The smaller followed for a generous serving of beak-fed fruit.

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Surely every robin embodies an extraordinary history of parenting, skill, perseverance, and luck that it cannot take for granted.

Surely every robin deserves a spot in the sun.

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