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Sundeck RobinsNature diary from Alberta, Summer 1999
WE HAVE HAD ROBINS nesting on a ledge under our sundeck roof for several years, and although we have photographed the nest, we need a mortar-sized lens to do the photo justice. This year the nest had only one hatchling and I missed its leaving, but I suspect all went well because we heard the parents chirping for at least twenty-four hours; we tried to keep the dog from investigating too closely.
We have to clean the nests out every year so the birds will use the same spot. Otherwise, they're all over the place and leave half-finished nests from one end of the deck to the other. My husband has to wait until the mother is sitting on her eggs before he puts up a piece of tin foil on the fiberglass overhang. The foil combats the heat, which can be unbearable under there, and it also hides the nest from marauding crows and magpies.
We can see the nest from the kitchen table, which makes viewing quite leisurely and comfortable. This year we didn't spend nearly as much time watching the birds as we usually do. Usually with four or five nestlings, there's so much going on that one can sit for embarrassing lengths of time just watching. My favourite time is when the nestlings start 'revving their engines' just prior to leaving. All that leg-stretching, flapping practice and peeking over the edge is too comical for words.
We drove our visitors from England to Waterton and tried to show them as much of the Park as possible through the rain and cloud. We did manage to spot a female moose with her calf, some deer, the resident chipmunk, various squirrels, the usual crows and magpies plus a Rufus hummingbird and assorted chickadees, robins, warblers and Evening Grosbeak. We also drove out to the Buffalo paddock and managed to find a few Bison and their young. We even spotted a very young bear making a rapid exit up an incline beside the road. He probably heard his mother calling.