Basket Case . . . Literally

May 27, 2013

Posted By: Shaunescy

In my recent post, Birds and Bunnies and Fairies, Oh My! I wrote about the little fairy garden that the kids and I have been cultivating for a couple of years now.

To further adorn the space, I added a hanging basket that is filled with Fuchsias. I just adore their paper lantern like shape and how the little pods explode with multi-petaled blossoms and long ornate stamens. They seem to me like nature’s dramatic artistry in bloom.

One of the reasons I love them so, is their ability to attract birds and butterflies. Many different birds would fly in and out of that basket in the first few days that I hung it. Shimmying and perching for a while. And then a big old fat robin took up residency. I tried to discourage it. Even going so far as to rip out its original nest making attempts because I thought that might be the kinder thing to do. Let it know that it had chosen a spot where we hang out all the time and that I’d be spraying with a garden hose extension.

But it didn’t work. That determined robin couple decided that it was the best real estate and really went to town. I gave in. I had to for so many reasons. On the top of the list of course has to do with my avian friends tenacity but, my kids’ thoughts . . . that I was being mean and hubby’s assertion, “Well, you know she’s pregnant right?” pretty much sealed the deal.

We have some tenants, and they are staying. Holy crap.

I am a sucker for anyone who is broody. And the words, coupled with the fact that one of my nearest and dearest just announced her pregnancy . . . what else could I do? Other than research . . .

By now, you are probably aware that I really love birds.   My intentions here are pure, I really thought that it would be a kindness to send them on their way before things got serious. I just don’t want to do them harm.

I found this webpage and for goodness sakes, it is so well worded and informative that I have been reading it for a couple of hours, without interruption. Simply basking in the authoritative advice and knowledge about the humble American Robin’s nature.

My original question was about how to water (or even if to water) the plant with all of this incubation activity going on. Lo and behold! I am not the first person to have this conundrum.

“Q: Did I jostle the eggs in a robin's nest hidden in my hanging plant by accidentally pouring warm water over them as I watered the plant? A robin has laid three eggs in a nest she quickly made in my hanging Lobelia plant. Before I knew the eggs were there (the plant is higher than I can see inside) I watered it with warm water, surely pouring water directly over at least one of the eggs. The mother is still sitting on the nest. What's the chance that I've already harmed the eggs?

A: Anything that is outdoors has to be at least a little waterproof. If the eggs weren’t sitting in water for longer than a few minutes, the ones that got wet should be fine.

Q: While the nest is in the middle of the full plant, and technically I could water around the edges, I'm afraid I will harm the eggs and baby birds when they hatch. Should I just quit watering it and let the plant go? I don't mind losing the plant but it's nice cover and protects the nest. By my calculations the eggs have been in the nest at least four days.

A: It should be fine to water around the edge, but give the mother time to fly off each time, and don’t water after the babies’ feathers are growing thick and they get close to fledging.”

I now have new fears, but at least that one is tackled.

Robin babies are born early and need to be cared for by their parents in the nest for about 2 weeks past hatching. Then, for another 2 weeks the babies (fledglings) hop out of the nest before they can actually fly well and spend the day eating snacks that their parents shove down their throats and getting back to the nest with awkward and short hopping flights.

Sound like anyone else you know?

I am horrified that one of them will land badly on the concrete patio. Now, I know . . . that I am just a silly blogger in your neighborhood, but I’d be lyin’ if I said I could come up with a better cliffhanger than that all on my lonesome!

I’ll keep you posted. Literally.


All my best, BunnyFufu

More from Montana Parent

Thank You to Our Sponsors