Birding expert discovers “Thanksgiving miracle” at UAB. Latest confirmed robin nesting in Alabama.

Photo by Greg Harber for Bham Now

Here is fun nature story for Bham Now readers.

Greg Harber, a volunteer and renown  birding instructor at Alabama Audubon, witnessed a “Thanksgiving miracle” while working at UAB on Thanksgiving.

He discovered a nest of American robins and their nestlings near his office on campus.


Why is that unusual?

According to Harber, robins start nesting in Alabama between May and September.  It is very rare to see robins on a nest and hatching in September, let alone in November.

American Robins Nest discovered in November 2019, the latest confirmed date in Alabama history. Photo by Greg Harber for Bham Now

In fact, Harber contacted Greg Jackson, the keeper of Alabama bird records about the discovery.  Jackson replied via email, that the latest confirmed robin nesting recorded in Alabama was September 2nd, nearly a full 3 months before these robins were found.


To get a sense of Harber’s excitement about this discovery, here is an excerpt from his Facebook post announcing how he found the birds:

“I have heard of Christmas miracles, and Easter miracles, but never a Thanksgiving miracle. Well today, I think I witnessed one while standing in the lobby of my building where I work at UAB. I’m talking to my sister on the phone prior to heading to the basement….As I was standing there I watched a robin fly to the top of a bare pistache tree where a nest was located. Much to my utter surprise and amazement there were two nestlings in the nest, eagerly waiting to be fed – heads straining and bobbing as mom and dad brought food to them!”

Photo by Greg Harber for Bham Now

Harber believes the baby robins were born about 7-8 days before he found the family on Thanksgiving.

“I was flabbergasted in a good way, that they were nesting this late, said Harber.  “I hope they will find enough food to survive.  I expect to see them leave the nest (fledge) in a week or so.”

Harber will continue to monitor their progress as long as they remain in the area.


Want to Learn More About Alabama’s Birds?

Ross’s Goose visit to Avondale Park – Photo by Greg Harber

This Thanksgiving miracle is just one example of the discoveries birders makes in and around the Magic City and Alabama. Just 3 years ago, a rare goose appeared at Avondale Park and a rare yellow cardinal was found in the suburbs of Birmingham.

Want to learn more about birds?  Join Alabama Audubon.  Better yet – this coming Thursday, December 5th Alabama Audubon will be holding their 73rd Annual Winter Banquet at The Carriage House (2030 Little Valley Rd., Hoover.  Get your tickets today!

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.