Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Robins close up

Bob Levy sends in a robin vignette:

This picture is from my almost-too-cute-for-words file. It may be another one of those ho-hum-here-go-again photos of nestlings but how I got this shot will always stay with me. I was standing on a sloping boulder on the far northwest edge of the Ramble in Central Park when I heard the nestlings yelling quite close to me. I turned toward the sound to discover I was nearly eyelevel with a very exposed nest less than fifteen feet away. I took a photo or two after which one of the parents arrived to feed three nestlings. (You can only see two but there was another one in the back that was having a hard time competing with its siblings). When the adult left the nestlings fell silent and snuggled back down to await the next course. They did not have to wait long. A minute or two later the three popped up and started yammering again. I realized that the kids knew a meal was on the way long before I could spot the deliverer. Listening to the nestlings gave me time to get ready to take my next photo. This process was repeated a couple of times and I expected it to continue the same way but then one episode puzzled me. The nestlings popped up and began to vocalize signaling a meal was near but neither parent arrived. I scanned the area but saw nothing until out of the corner of my eye I saw something on the rock at my feet. One adult was standing inches from my shoe with a gooey beak full of I don’t know what. The bird stood for a while then leapt up to the nest and promptly deposited the goo into the open mouths you see in the shot. As a new birder in Central Park I quickly learned what prolific breeders American Robins are and how they often seem to ignore the humans but I never encountered one that was so blasé about my presence as was that particular bird.