Be There: The Story Behind the Robin Family Photo After First Baby Robin’s First Flight

Birds, Nature, Robins

Date: July 12, 2013
Location: Rideau Forest, Ontario, Canada

Camera: Canon EOS 30D
Lens: EF100mm/2.8 Macro USM

Exposure: 1/320 at f/2.8
ISO Speed Rating: ISO 400

I didn’t expect to see this, let alone capture it. I didn’t even know both male and female robins share feeding responsibilities.

A robin built a nest on top of the outdoor speaker just outside my back door. I followed the development from nest construction to egg laying, hatching, and feeding of the baby robins. As they grew larger, I decided I wanted to capture a first flight, starting with the moment it took the leap of faith.

One night in July, I watched as a fledgling robin looked agitated and restless in the nest, sitting up near the edge, chirping. I guessed it wanted to leave, so I parked myself nearby, waiting for it to jump and fly.

I waited and waited and waited. But it wouldn’t jump. After 7 pm, I didn’t want to wait any longer, thinking I should try again the next day. But something gave me pause, and I waited longer.

The little bird jumped when I took my eyes off him. My heart sank. I had waited patiently but missed the moment. Even though I didn’t see the jump, and wasn’t ready with my camera, I saw the flight. The robin flapped a lot but moved very slowly. However, it was a smooth flight, so he had a soft landing.

Next he hopped onto the fence.

One parent came over to him with a worm to feed him; and then the second parent arrived, also with a worm, ready to feed him.

At 7:21 pm, we end up with a picture of the baby in the middle, one parent on one side turned towards him with a worm, the other parent on the other side turned towards him, also with a worm.

I don’t know if I could have staged the scene better than it turned out.

(The reason this image is smaller than other images on this site is because it’s for sale at Fine Art America.)