It’s some kind of flycatcher, I think…

I have new neighbors. There is a couple who have moved into the house across the street and another new family that has built a nest on top of my gutter downspout . Across the street the couple who purchased a brand new, custom-built home that replaces the old house, a little 1907 Cape Cod that fell into disrepair. The new home took about a year to complete. My other new neighbors we’re swift in their construction. It felt like overnight! I noticed it a couple of weeks ago. A nest neatly balanced on the metal downspout of my gutter system has long tendrils of dried plants collected from my yard . I saw the mom (I think) perched on the nest this morning. The bird is hard to identify. Although only ten feet above my deck, the good parent sits their for most of the day, its body hidden within the nest.

I convinced myself that it was some kind of flycatcher. At least I want to think this is true. I saw what I thought was one perched on the electric wire that runs across my back yard. It’s grey head full of feathers looks like a punk rock hairdo, spiked on top. But, later I follow the birds from the nest. They both yelled at me it short little chirps because I am getting into their space. And then I realize….it’s a nest of robins.

Robins are generally thought of a sign of spring in Minnesota so I am happy to see them but, also a little disappointed. I was hoping I had an obscure family of birds living with us.

It’s been fun to watch as the parents dutifully attend to the nest and finally there are baby birds. I count four. They grow quickly and little heads pop up and chirp brightly as the parents bring them worms to feed them. My husband, who has been enjoying this nature show too, wondered if the parents can tell the babies apart and know who has had the last worm? Or if its the most hungry or strongest baby who leverages their way to additional food?

And are Robin’s migratory? In recent years, we still see them here in Minnesota during the winter months. Rather than following the traditional north/south patterns of migration, these guys stick around if there is enough food to support them during the cold winter months. I’ve read that the smarter birds, don’t necessarily migrate as they are able to figure out survival modes and why waste the time?

From my observations of their parenting style and the dedication they have to their young, they are prolific. The baby birds now seem to big for the nest and it will be fun to see when they launch.

The neighborhood is growing.

Emily Donovan