Canadian photographer R. John Knight shares the stories behind some of his nature and wildlife images

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's Under Your Deck? Robins?

Each spring, when the Robins return, they commonly build a nest outside our backdoor under the deck.  During the nest building and sitting on the eggs, the adult Robins were watchful, but amazingly tolerant of our presence as we went about our chores in the backyard.  This changed once their chicks hatched.

With chicks to feed, the adults became nervous when you passed too close to the nest.  When the chicks were alone, they sat quietly and were very still, hoping that you wouldn't notice them.  You could always tell from across the yard when one of the adults arrived with food.  Both the noise and activity level increased dramatically.  However, if you walked by at this point, the Robins froze, not moving a feather.  Stillness implied invisibility.

Another busy time was when the young chicks began their preparations to leave the nest.  The chicks took turns venturing over the side of the nest to flap their wings.  From the noise level, this must have been an exciting time; perhaps as they cheered each other on to the next step, flight.  During this period, both adults became agitated and noisy if you walked by.

And then, within 12-18 hours, the four chicks were gone, one at a time, and the nest was left empty for another season.  Robins come and go in our backyard each day as they forage for food, or just sit on a tall spruce and watch.  We wonder what has become of the four chicks who came into this world from under our deck. 

Parent with chicks.
Four chicks impatiently waiting for next meal.
The last chick to leave the nest.


  1. How lucky you are to have those little visitors year after year. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Many thanks for the wonderful pictures from under your deck; how interesting those dramas going on there are; and so similar to those of us above the deck!

  3. When it comes to nature photography, you have to seize the moment.