Country diary: a nesting box, a broken window and a brooding robin

We inherited the old garden shed when we bought the house a quarter of a century ago. Over the door, someone had fixed an open-fronted nest box of the type thought suitable for a robin but, whether it was too exposed or the aspect was wrong, no birds took up the offer of accommodation.

Eventually, while repainting the shed, I took down the box and, for want of anywhere else to put it, left it on a high shelf just inside the door. That winter, the apple tree nearb

The following spring, while easing the lawnmower out of its hibernation, I heard an unexpected sound. Turning slowly round, I was met with the attentive but apparently unconcerned gaze of a brooding robin, who had decided that the new location and accessibility made the nest box suddenly desirable.

I crept away as quietly as I could, but kept a close eye on the progress of our tenants. The sitting bird received regular deliveries of insects from its mate, and seldom left the nest before the eggs hatched.

Once the nestlings were heard, however, both parents kept up a constant shuttle during daylight to try to appease the growing chicks. I am pleased to say that all six youngsters fledged successfully, and spread out across the garden while their mottled feathers matured.

y lost a branch, breaking the shed window and adding another line to the list of jobs I would never get around to.

 

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