This evening Gregory and I were sitting on our balcony sharing a cup of coffee. The temperature was perfect, the sky beautiful, the view from the balcony our roof top garden one story below. The garden helps us feel grounded, literally. There are seven beautiful trees, loads of bushes, at this time of year plenty of yellow lilies, and a ribbon of grass running through it all.
The amazing thing is that we watched, for about half an hour, a Robin building a nest in the tree right in front of our balcony. It had found apiece of paper, approximately 2" x4", picked it up in its beak, and flew the nest piece up into the tree. A few minutes later the piece of paper came drifting down to the grass. A few seconds later the Robin flew down, picked the piece of paper up again, and flew it back up into the tree where it stayed. We watched the Robin make at least a dozen trips with bits of this and that in its beak. It pulled apart a low growing plant and took part away with it. Twigs of various sizes were airlifted to its new home.
The only thing that could have made this experience better would have been if we were able to see the nest itself, hidden in the center of the tree, being built. Gregory and I posed several questions: Does the male or the female build the nest? If it is the female is it before she is "with egg" in preparation or after the egg(s) have been fertilized in anticipation?
So this is what I found on-line: NESTING: Robins are one of our earliest birds to nest. The female does the majority of building, although the male may help bring materials to the site. Nesting materials may be gathered up to a quarter of a mile from the nest site. The nest takes 2 to 6 days to build, and may be started up to two weeks before the first eggs are laid.