Triplet Sighting: Fledgling Robins are Alive and Well!

I thought we had bid a final farewell to the triplets; Winken, Blinken, and Nod, the baby robins who grew up before our eyes but I have an update.  Three fledgling robins are handing out in our shade garden.  Their flight is very limited but they are learning how to look for their own dinner.  I thought they might be our triplets but wasn’t sure because our shade garden is a great sight for fledgling birds.  Fresh water, enclosed space, lots of places to hide.  But I was assured these are our babies when mom robin flew in with a mouthful of wormy goodness and all three ran to her.  So I am happy to report they are alive and well.  My camera is not great for long-range photos so I have enhanced them circling the little darlings so you can make them out.

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Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Final Farewell to the Triplets

One last post about the robin nest in our garden.  Three beautiful robins’ egg blue eggs that hatched and grew up in front of our eyes.  We named them the triplets: Winken, Blinken and Nod.  They are gone now.  Grown.  At least old enough to have flown away.  I still catch a glimpse of Nod in the trees now and then and Mom and Dad are still around but all have deserted the nest.  Sure is lonely.  I miss the little ones but it was wonderful watching them grow.  It was too fast – 12 days from hatching to flight.  Here is a record of their time with us:

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Happy Days and remember to “bee” positive!

Update on the Triplets; Winken The Prodigy

So it has been a while since I updated you on the triplets.  They have been growing sooo fast!  Today is day 11 since they hatched and Winken, the biggest of the three (and also the hungriest) has shown his progeny – by flying!  OK not very far but still only 11 days out of the egg!  Here he is sitting proudly if not a little wobbly near the nest:

The others cannot be far behind! Here is a pic from yesterday with all three crowded in the nest.  They are literally sitting on top of one another.  Uncharacteristically, Winken is taking a nap (probably resting up for his solo flight today) and Blinken (left) and Nod, who is usually asleep are the ones crying for dinner.

Dad has really taken a disliking to me and is not above pulling my hair when I get too close.  Here he is looking more disapproving than if I were a prom date with lip piercings and a tattoo!

All in all a very satisfying family affair.

Happy Birding and remember to “bee”  positive!

Robin Family Update

It has been a crazy week.  I can’t believe it has only been 7 days since the triplets hatched.  They have grown so much.  They began as little pink fuzzy blobs to little hungry looking mini dinosaurs and now their feathers are starting to come in and on Day 6 they opened their eyes.  Winken is still the strongest on the right, Blinken is in the middle or front left and Nod (aptly named) is usually napping in the back.  I just read that a bird’s eyes comprises about 50% of a bird’s head and if our eyes were comparable they would be the size of softballs.  Pretty creepy but these little cuties are rockin’ the big-eyed look.

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I usually go out in the afternoon to take a picture so that Mom and Dad have had time to make a couple of worm deliveries and it is warm and sunny and I can sneak up, snap a pic or two and be gone before either parent returns.  Mrs. Robin has gotten pretty used to me.  She is usually guarding the nest in the afternoon and she sits on a nearby branch and squawks until I go away.  But today it looked like it might rain so I went out this morning to get a pic before the babies were tucked under mom’s wings to stay dry.  Apparently Dad is not so mellow and as I neared the nest, he began dive bombing me.  And not just close flybys.  He assaulted both me and my camera!  He is so brave.  I bet Mrs. Robin is very proud.

Happy Birding and remember to “bee” positive!

Pest and Fungus Control Practices in an Organic Garden

I have been asked about my mulching and watering practices that I use to deter black spot on my roses.  First of all, I choose disease resistant roses, David Austen roses, Don Juan and Blaze, Peace, a few knockouts, Queen Elizabeth, Zephren Druin are all good but I also have a few tea roses and unknown hybrids that are a little more susceptible.

Second, all watering except for natural rain comes through a soaker hose I have attached with a timer for my cutting garden where most of my roses grow.  This prevents splashing on the leaves and minimizes the spread of black spot.

As for mulch, I clean out all last year’s mulch by January and prune the roses as needed.  Then, because some of my flowers re-seed themselves, I hold off on the mulch until any new plantlets have declared themselves.  This ensures my larkspur, bachelor button, and any new Rudbeckia and cone flower can set seed.  Then in May, I apply a fresh covering of live oak leaves at 3-4″.  I use live oak leaves because that is what I have and although live oaks are evergreen, they do “shed” a truckload of old leaves in the spring which is exactly when I need them.  Anything I don’t use goes to compost with a generous helping of bloodmeal to help them break down into great compost by fall.

That usually does it but sometimes our springs are a little soggy like this one has been and we didn’t have even one hard freeze this year so fungus and insects are at a high point and feasting on my roses especially.  Then I do use a fungal spray which also deters feeding insects.  Here is the recipe:

  • 4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tbsp. Horticultural Oil (I use a light year-round oil)
  • 1 Gallon of Water

Mix and apply to the leaves with a pump sprayer (pictured below) or a regular spray bottle.  I use both.  That’s it.  The baking soda takes care of the fungal infections and the horticultural oil encourages the mix to stick to the leaves and also deters the bugs.  I have used commercial sprays in the past for both fungal and pest control and I can truly say that going organic has not reduced my ability to control these garden problems.  Plus, when I see a tomato (also planted in my cutting garden) I can eat it right on the spot like an apple which is my favorite way to eat a homegrown tomato.

I keep the green spray bottle near a struggling crepe myrtle that is having a problem with big white nasty aphids.  I have transplanted this tree to 3 different areas as my garden has grown and it is now in a spot that I like but it does not have as much sun as these little trees like so it has been susceptible to these bugs that came in on some azaleas from the nursery.  This is what they looked like a few weeks ago but I am glad to say that most of them are gone.

So that’s it.  Water and feed your plants and add compost at least once a year.  Strong healthy plants are the best defense against an invasion of bugs or disease.

Organic Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

P.S.  BTW the baby robins are all doing well.  Mom and dad are flying their tail feathers off to feed the triplets and this is the sixth day from when they hatched.  Their eyes are open today and they are looking less like tiny dinosaurs and more like birds.  I will post some pics of the little family tomorrow.

Day 2 for Winken, Blinken, and Nod

This is the last day for a while that I will blog solely on the triplets, I promise.  It’s just that they are so darn cute!  I am happy to report that Nod finally joined his brothers for mealtime and mom and dad seem tireless at providing worms all day long.  Here they are on day 2 looking fluffier and more active.  I watched as the parents bravely drove away a Grackel who had just come for a drink and a bluejay who looked decidedly suspicious.   At the same time they graciously allowed mourning doves, cardinals, and a few finches access to the yard.  Here are the newest pics:

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Tomorrow I promise back to serious gardening efforts.  I really have to because my flora residents are becoming a little jealous of all the attention to the new family of Robins.  How do I know you ask?  What – have you never heard the term “green with envy”?   Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.  Seriously, back to normal tomorrow.

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Happy Birthday to Winken, Blinken, and Nod

April 24 was the birthday of three very special babies.  The three eggs in our Robin’s nest hatched! (see https://gardenlifedesigns.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/rockin-robins-a-closeup-on-the-domestic-life-of-nesting-parents/ )   I have been watching them closely from my kitchen window and I saw both Mr. and Mrs. Robin flying back and forth to the nest with mouthfuls of tasty worms.  My binoculars showed little yellow mouths opening above the edge of the nest every time a parent flew in for a delivery so between visits I ran out to take a few pics.  Bad photography notwithstanding, are they not the cutest little things ever?!  Winken is strongest, Blinken is right there in the fray competing for choice morsels but I am a little worried about Nod.  He doesn’t seem very strong and I never saw three little mouths open at the same time.  We’ll see if he can make it in the days and weeks to come.  I searched the ground beneath the nest for the pretty blue egg shells but our wily parents seemed to have spirited them away so as not to alert predators.  I have included previous pics of the eggs cause they’re so cute! Here they are:

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Happy birding and remember to “bee” positive!