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Dear Ben,

Greetings. I thought that you (as well as the good folks from Y&R) would find this interesting. Please
share the following information with those who accompanied me on my two walks (and any others who
may be curious/interested in nature in Central Park). Many thanks. Hope to see you soon.
All best,
Ken


And so the story continues...


While leading a walk last week (5/12/14) with a group of employees from Young and Rubicam, we
discovered an active robins nest perched on a low limb of a honeylocust tree. As we were watching, an
adult robin flew in and immediately three baby robins heads popped up above the nest, all clamoring to
be fed. The mother popped a juicy worm into one of the begging mouths, and flew off to seek more for
her hungry family. It was a crowd-pleasing moment, a Disney moment to be sure, yet one that always
elicits an ahhh from somewhere deep inside.



On Tuesday, 5/20/14, I returned to the same location late in the afternoon, curious to see how the
family was doing. As I approached the honeylocust (and yes, it is spelled as one word), I noticed no
movement. The nest seemed to be abandoned. It was quieter than a spider wearing sneakers. Had they
young survived? Was it possible that they had already fledged?



As I began to scan the tree, a ruddy orange smudge caught my eye near the trunk about 20 feet up. It
was a newly-fledged robin! In the span of eight days it had grown from a helpless, nest-bound individual
with only downy feathers, into a nearly adult-sized bird with distinctive coloration and emerging flight
feathers. This is the amazing growth spurt that Ma Nature provides in order to ensure survival of the
species. As newly hatched young, robins are extremely vulnerable to many predators which include
crows, blue jays, raccoons, as well as true birds of prey such as hawks and falcons. Getting out of the
nest and flying is critical.



At this stage, the young bird is not yet capable of strong, sustained flight. The adult feathers needed for
that are still developing. Most young spend a number of days hopping around and taking short
experimental flights from branch to branch as their adult feathers emerge. They often stick around in
the same tree as the nest, and this robin was only about 25 feet from the nest where it was born. Note
how this bird is just beginning to develop tail feathers in the photo above (and also the 3 horizontal
holes made by a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker just above the young robins head). Flying without tail
feathers is like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel. I searched for the remaining two young
robins, but there were no other birds in the the tree to be found. It is possible that they did not survive,
or on a more optimistic note, that they possibly fledged before this individual and were now off
discovering the big world of Central Park and staking out space for viewing the upcoming Shakespeare In
The Park production of Much Ado About Nothing, opening at the Delacorte Theatre in two weeks.


Speaking of comedy and drama, while I was photographing the young robin, a House Sparrow landed on
a nearby branch. The young robin immediately began crying, flapping its little wings, and trembling to be
fed. It hopped over toward the smaller adult sparrow screeching incessantly. The sparrow flew off as if it
had taken the wrong seat on a NYC subway. Finally to the delight of junior, Mother Robin herself
showed up, with a worm of course. She had just fed the youngster as I got my camera up to snap this
photo. And then she was off again to to do more shopping and perhaps to begin to prepare for
another clutch of eggs to be laid, incubated, and hatched as spring continues to work its wonders.

It is a beautiful time to be in the park.

Ken Chaya
May 22, 2014
Central Park Nature Associates
http://www.centralparknature.com/
http://www.centralparkentireapp.com/

PS. Tradition allows that those who view the fledgling first as it leaves the nest are granted full naming
rights. In recognition of discovering this nest with my friends from Young and Rubicam, I hereby
introduce and welcome Young Ruby to the world of Central Park. May you live long and fly high and
enjoy all the perks and privileges of being a true native New Yorker!