There Are Cute Babies, and Then There are Robin Babies

Marge: Every father thinks his daughter is the cutest.
Homer: Well, now there’s a way to prove it.

– The Simpsons

We mentioned that we are hosting robins on our stoop for the second year running. Here are the pre-robins:

Unbelievable color!

Unbelievable color!

And here are the robin chicks as of a few days ago:

Robins often lay an unfertilized egg, so the four/three mismatch doesn't necessarily mean someone didn't make it.

Check out their enormous googly eyes!

They are so cool, but they ain’t all that cute! Robins have “altricial” young, which means that when they hatch, they aren’t done yet. The parents feed them and keep them warm and protect them while they pull it together. These kinds of birds typically nest off the ground for obvious reasons. Ground nesters like geese and ducks are “precocial” — their young hatch all fluffy and all ready to run around attacking bugs and stuff. (You can geek out about the details over at NestWatch.)

By the way, American Robins often lay an unfertilized egg, so the four/three mismatch doesn’t necessarily mean someone didn’t make it. It’s also possible these three are sprawled on top of Sibling Four!

This is one of my favorite before and afters!

Update: As of 18 June, all three robins were fully fledged and out in the big wide world! Good lucky, Larry, Moe and Curly!

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