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In the Spring of 2018, I watched a female robin attempt to build a nest on a window ledge, however because of the gusty spring winds and storms the nest would continually fall. Never did the momma robin complete the nest and I am not sure if she decided to try another location or dropped her eggs in flight. On the first week of April 2019, I was surprised to see a female robin back on that same ledge repeatedly trying to build a nest and yes it would fall, but this time to my amazement momma robin was persistent and was successful in completing the full construction of the nest. The Robin's nest will need to last for more than a month because it will hold two to four light blue eggs, plus momma will set on the nest for 10-12 days until all the eggs are hatched. When the chicks are about 12 to 14 days old they will fledge, but beware during this time both parents will aggressively defend the nest area. The male robin will dive-bomb people and predators that come ten feet of a nest and will closely swoop down calling loudly to draw the attention away from the nest. Whether buying or building, location, location, location matters, it will depend on storms or the owner of the ledge whether this nest stays in place, time will tell if momma robin made a good location choice for her nest.
If the nest survives through the spring it may be reused for another nesting because the robin will have two or three more sets of chicks and within a few days from the first chicks fledging momma Robin may return to set another batch of eggs. Once the season is over, the robin and most other birds will not use their nest again and next spring will start fresh with a new one. The swifts and swallows will return to the same nest-site but will use the nest only once, for a very good reason they build their nest in trees and shrubs and most nest will deteriorate over time. The blackbirds and song thrushes raise several broods each year but will use a new nest each time, however they will dismantled the old nest and use some of the pieces for the new build. In the bird world typically it is the female that is responsible for building the nest but not for the wren. The male wren will build several nests throughout his territory then escorts his mate to all of them and allow her to choose which one she favors to lay her eggs in.
Birds will build in nesting boxes and bird houses that have been supplied by man, so when the babies have fledged the box or house will need to be cleaned. All that will be needed is warm water and detergent and a good scrubbing and rinse. If there are a lot of bird droppings left behind in the box, dunk the box into a bleach solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water.
The Joe Ford Nature Center's volunteer Mary, who takes care of the bird sanctuary has spotted the Coopers Hawk and believes the hawk is returning to its previous year nest or its nest-site. The seeing of the Copper is right on schedule because the hawks begin their breeding season early in the spring, however most Coopers do not breed until they are at least two years old. The female will lay 3 to 6 bluish to greenish-white eggs that are usually spotted with hatching occurring between 32 to 36 days. Both parents will care for the young until the chicks are about 8weeks-old, with the female performing most of the incubation which includes warming and protecting, while the male provides food for his mate as well as defending the area from predators. In a few weeks after hatching the chicks learn to fly and will leave the nest but will remain with their parents until they learn how to feed themselves and survive on their own. Cooper's hawks are known to live as long as 12 years in the wild but like many animals the Cooper's hawks are most vulnerable when they are young and will not survive beyond 1 year of age. The oldest recorded Cooper's Hawk was a male living 20 years, 4 months old, banded in 1986 in California and was found in Washington in 2006.
The cycle of nature is a design of creation and the ecological system, one small bird may be another larger bird's feast. As scripture states "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them" . Due to environmental conditions and man's overzealous hunting, some of the bird population has been reduced, so learning how to feed and provide nesting material can benefit our avian population but remember they are have been around for a very long time without any help from man. When visiting the Joe Ford Nature Bird Sanctuary you will notice it is in need of clean up and new feeders. Through a collaboration grant with the Daviess County Audubon Society some of the project will be completed, however if you have a love for birds and would like to volunteer to help with the clean up contact the Center on how you can be involved.