The best way to put this is just to say it bluntly. Mrs. Robin's babies didn't make it.
The other day I told you that one of the eggs had hatched. I went to check on it yesterday morning and the baby was curled up and very still - I just thought it was asleep. I also noticed that one of the eggs had a small hole in it so I was excited that it might be hatching at that very moment. I quickly backed away from the window so Mrs. Robin would come back and couldn't wait to come back in the afternoon to see two chicks.
Well, yesterday evening I was very disappointed. When I went to check, the first baby bird hadn't moved and it's abdomen seemed swollen and blue; and the egg with the hole in it, had not hatched. I knew then that the baby hadn't made it and likely the other eggs hadn't either. I double checked this morning, and sure enough, Mrs. Robin is gone - along with the chick and one of the eggs. All that's left is one lonely egg - abandoned and either not fertilized, or not viable.
Robin Not-So Fun Fact: Only 25% of baby robins will make it to adulthood.
I'm not exactly sure what happened but it could be one of several things. 1. Another bird attacked the nest and killed the baby and destroyed the eggs by poking a hole in them because it's nest is close by and they would have to compete for resources. 2. Disease. 3. The elements - It's been chilly here at night and rained a lot so maybe the eggs/chick couldn't stay warm enough. It could be that Mrs. Robin is fairly new at this and didn't pick a good location for her nest or didn't stay on the nest enough to keep the babies warm. 4. Maybe the fact that I've been checking in spooked her off too much, but considering I've only done it once a day at most except for yesterday which was twice, I find that doubtful. -- At least I hope so. I don't want to be known around the bird community as a chick murderer. It could lead to an Alfred Hitchcock type of situation, which would not be good for my fear of birds.
Whatever the reason, the reality is that this is how nature works. Some survive, and some don't. It's how God designed things to work. I hate that I had to see that reality, but I've so enjoyed the time I had with Mrs. Robin and her nest.
Turns out Mrs. Robin and I have more in common that I wanted us to have - we both know what its like to lose a baby. I hope she's out there right now, picking up her little bird head and trying again, just like I did. And, I'm sure she is. Robins lay 2-3 nests each Spring/Summer. It might sound silly, but I'll be praying for her and the survival of her other babies.
Good luck Mrs. Robin, and thank you so much for sharing your babies with me. Even if it was for just a short amount of time. I enjoyed everything you taught me. What a great Mommy you are.
Robin fun facts and other helpful information on robins and their nesting habits was found at http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/EggstraEggstra.html.