And then there were four

By Carol / April 28, 2013 /

Four Robin Egg NestMrs. Red Breast added another egg to the nest Sunday morning.  Someone suggested the total would be four. Maybe so. It seems a neat number and there’s hardly room for more.

My concern that she might be scared away by our use of the facilities so far seems unfounded. I performed my morning ablutions while she was in residence. We were both appropriately discrete, each directing our eyes elsewhere to give the other necessary privacy.

Some years ago, we had a cardinal nest in a burning bush right next to our outdoor water faucet. Lady Cardinal put up quite a racket each time we came near but eventually she became used to us. We were treated to watching (very carefully) a nest of babies grow and take wing.  Hoping to do the same here.

I realized in writing my last post that I didn’t know what to call a nest of eggs. We have pods of whales and gaggles of geese, litters of puppies, cats, and pigs (all mammals).  But what do you call a group of eggs in the same nest? Not a flock. So what? Anyone?

NOTE: I first wrote about Mrs. Red Breast when she reached three eggs. Here’s the link to that post.

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  1. Veronica Arnold on April 29, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Wikipedia says it is a “clutch” of eggs. If you put your hand in the nest to remove one of the eggs, that is called “dipping the clutch.” I am in the very beginning stages of learning to do research for my fiction stories. I Googled “a group of eggs in a nest.” Are you proud of me or what??

    • Carol Bodensteiner on April 29, 2013 at 7:00 am

      Thanks, Veronica. I should have thought to try Google. I’m too old to have that be my first thought! And the added benefit of the interesting phrase, “dipping the clutch.” I am very proud of you! Good luck with your stories.

  2. Audra on April 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Yes, it’s a clutch of eggs. So cool that she laid another.

    • Carol Bodensteiner on April 29, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      I think four might be it. No new eggs this morning. She’s taken to being on the nest most of the time. So excited!

  3. Barbara McDowell Whitt on April 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Now comes the next stage where she sits and sits and sits…. Since people were sharing their bird stories yesterday I’ll add “the rest of the story” to my previous account (April 27, 2013) of having a pair of doves in my kindergarten classroom.

    The second grade teacher and I had agreed that the doves needed to remain in her classroom until the new family had adjusted to parenthood. We had moved the cage from my room to hers on Friday after school. The two baby birds had hatched at some time during the weekend.

    On Monday morning I was teaching a reading group when a well-meaning custodian came bringing the cage and new family back to its place in my room. When I went to check on the doves the mother dove was off her nest and two scrawny newborns were exposed to the external air and sounds of the classroom. The mother stayed off and and stayed and stayed off the nest. Apparently she had decided that a move, two babies and another move in three days were too much.

    It wasn’t until after lunch and play time when my students left my classroom to attend music class that I had an opportunity to call the veterinarian from whom I had obtained the doves. She suggested putting a blanket over the cage. The theory was that it might calm her down. A huge blanket a student had brought for rest time was put to the test. I left an opening to see into the cage from the top. I kept checking every ten minutes, watching the time until the students would return. She got back on the nest in the last ten minutes.

    I later wrote a story for a Guideposts writing contest about God using the mother dove, whose heart had not been in motherhood, to help me realize the time had come for me to get over my jealousy about not having a son. As the mother of two delightful daughters, my heart had not been in motherhood either. Since they were then in second grade and kindergarten, it was time. I called my entry “Of Daughters and Doves.” And no, I wasn’t a Guideposts winner. But that is another story.

    • Carol Bodensteiner on April 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      That is a great story, Barbara. Thanks for sharing it. Isn’t it wonderful that you could take a personal learning from your experience with the doves? Perfect – for your daughters and you – whether you won in Guideposts or not!

  4. Sharon Svitak on May 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I truly hope you have no predatory birds in the area. I had a lovely clutch of dove’s eggs that I was enjoying when the crows descended and cracked the eggs. I could never think of a means of discouraging the crows from attacking without frightening the nesting doves.

    We have a pair blue jays that return to my yard every year. While they are building their nest and sitting on the eggs they dive at both my dog and cat and occasionally at me, when one of us enters the yard. None of us have ever approached the nest, not even the cat, but the jays are making sure it stays that way. They don’t tolerate crows either.

    • Carol Bodensteiner on May 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Predatory birds can be a problem here, too, Sharon. My husband watched a hawk take out a robin’s nest on the downspout of his shop. I very protected area and the hawk still got in. No robins have nested in that spot since. I walk through an area where killdeers are active. They make incredible noise all through the nesting season. And red-winged blackbirds are very aggressive. We’ll see. Like you, there’s not much we can do except let nature take its due course.

  5. Elaine Faber on May 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

    What a lovely story. I add the following about birds and predators. We took our canary to the the front yard and hung his cage on a hook on the porch while we pulled weeds nearby. I looked up in time to see a HAWK streaking down from the sky in “MORTAR KILL MODE”. It HIT the cage, sending it swinging, then flew off and landed on a light pole by the driveway. Scared the canary. Scared us! I think the HAWK was a little dizzy – maybe a bit of a bent beak. Imagine he saw the bird and missed the little detail of the surrounding cage! He -the hawk – sat on the pole about 5 minutes, then flew away! Quite an eventful moment!

    • Carol Bodensteiner on May 15, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Wow! That would be something to see, Elaine. I’m glad the hawk didn’t give your canary a heart attack. Thanks for sharing your story.

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