A Robins' Nest at Our Front Door - N. J. Lindquist

A Robins’ Nest at Our Front Door

Last spring we didn’t notice until too late that a pair of robins had decided to nest on the light fixture outside our front door.

FrontDoorWithNestThe moment of discovery involved opening the front door to pick up the newspaper, and jumping when something flew squawking from just above my head to the tree in front of our house. A bird. A robin to be exact. I looked up at the light fixture. Uh oh. A nest was hidden behind it, with the edges peeking out.

I told Mrs. Robin that she was okay, and I went inside, shutting the door.

There are vertical windows on either side of our front door so I stood back and watched. Mrs. Robin soon flew to the post right in front of me and perched there, on the ready, peering in every direction for several minutes. At one point I was sure she was staring at me, daring me to try to open that door again.MrsRobinOnPost

I finally gave up and went away.

Later that afternoon, when one of our sons dropped by, we discovered that Mrs. Robin was still there and still very annoyed when bothered. As he came up the front steps, she shot out of the nest and flew toward him, just above his head, chattering all the way, to land on the tree and keep chirping like crazy.

He thought it was funny. Well, at least until he noticed the fresh white spot on his car when he was leaving. :)

Les thought it was funny, too.

I, on the other hand, related to the mother bird.

One of my strengths as a novelist is the ability to get into the mind of my characters and feel what they feel. And I easily put myself into the mind of the mother bird. After all, I’ve had four babies of my own, not to mention a number of grand-babies. I know how a mother reacts when danger of any kind threatens her child. So I felt bad for Mrs. Robin.

I promised her we wouldn’t bother her any more than was necessary.

Since we normally park our car at the back of the house, we didn’t bother her when we left the house or returned by car.

I started also going out the back door whenever I went for a walk, and encouraged Les to do the same.

If I knew people were coming to visit, I either warned them to go to the back or made sure I opened the door quickly so Mrs. Robin wasn’t inconvenienced for long.

Robin1stSightingGetting the newspaper each morning was the biggest problem. I’d start by trying to see if Mrs. Robin was on the nest.  If I stood in the right place, and if she was sitting with her head up, I could sometimes see her.

In this picture, her head is on the right, just above the light.

Or his head.

I realize that male robins may take a turn at sitting on the nest.

But the robin who stared at me frantically from the post seemed to look the same each time to me.

However, if you look closely at the picture below on the right, you can see Mr. Robin sitting in the right upper corner. Although I didn’t notice him at first, I soon discovered that he was pretty well always somewhere in the area. Sometimes in one of the trees out front; sometimes on the other side of the road; sometimes on the ground, presumably hunting for worms; and sometimes perched someone else on the right side of our house, out of our view.

Our unexpected boarders first came to my notice on Monday, May 5th.

Our efforts to accommodate them in their efforts to raise their babies went on for over three weeks, with me keeping an eye on the nest and Mrs. Robin, feeling bad every time I opened the front door and trying to do it when I couldn’t see her on the nest (although she was usually there anyway).

She did get so used to me that although she’d fly off to the tree when she heard the knob of the door turn, she’d also fly back to the post the second the door was shut. Then she’d turn in every direction, looking a little crazed, with wild eyes, until she was satisfied the danger had passed and it was safe for her to return to the nest.

Oh, did I mention that she was complaining loudly the entire time? Technically, she was probably trying to distract me so that I didn’t notice the nest. However, it sounded like complaining to me.


Were we inconvenienced by our boarders?

If you count the number of times I checked to see if all was clear before opening the door, or felt bad because I or someone else had disturbed Mr. and Mrs. Robin, causing them to fly crazily to the tree and making her sit on the post staring around for several minutes, then yes, it was somewhat inconvenient.

However, there was actually a bigger problem.

If you look closely at the banister Mrs. Robin is sitting on above, you’ll might wonder where on earth we live. As in do we live in a shack.

No, our house is fine. But after thirteen years, the wood on our front banister has begun to rot. We had intended to hire someone to come and dismantle the banister and put in a new one.

Of course, we couldn’t even consider doing something like that while the Robins were still using their nest.

Click here to read part 2

  • I love this post, NJ. I definitely identify with it. We’ve had robins in several areas of our home over the past several years. Ours are not as scared as yours. They stare at us but have come to know, over the years, that we pose no threat. We carry on and so do they. We get sad when a nest doesn’t survive or we find dead birds or broken eggs. They become part of the family. They are kind of messy at times, but the joy they bring is worth the clean-up.

    • njlindquist says:

      Thanks Lynne. Glad you liked it.

      Yeah, I’m not good with icky stuff. Been praying no little birds fall to their death on our cement porch. Get worried when I see the mother walking on the road out front. Sigh.


  • NJ, I love this blog, This is so interesting an an amazing coincidence.

    We’ve had this same situation for several years now, in the exact location as yours, only not on the light fixture but on the top of the post on the porch which has a flat surface.One year one of the baby birds fell from the nest and I was so worried because it did not even have it`s feathers yet. I had to have my son wear gloves and place the baby back into it`s nest .Yes we also had to be very careful when opening our front door, and most times left the house through our garage.

    Each year I decided to do something about the spot bird chose my daughter would get upset. She`d say that we humans have used up all of the birds and animals’ habitat and they have no other choices. The big problem is cleaning up all their droppings which is no fun at all.

    I learned a lot from the birds, and wish some of our human families could do the same. One morning early I watched the mother bird leave the nest to get food for her babies, but they were not alone. I noticed another bird close by in the tree on our front lawn watching. I assumed it was the father bird, because as soon as I opened my front door he flew right over to my home and into the nest. The father bird was protecting her babies. I thought, God, how wonderful that even in the birds you’ve placed that instinct of parenthood.

    NJ I look forward to reading the rest of this blog. Blessings !

    • njlindquist says:

      Several years? Oh dear. Not sure I could take that. You all must have tons of patience.

      I was so worried a baby would fall on the step which is concrete. But that didn’t happen. Yeah!

      Yes, do stay tuned for the “rest of the story. There is more to come. :)

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