Oops they did it again! UAB robins shatter Alabama natural history record with 3 more babies

A family of American robins nesting at a UAB courtyard in January 2020. The latest confirmed nesting of robins in Alabama was September 2nd, before  robins were hatched in this courtyard in November and December. Photo courtesy of Greg Harber

Remember our “Thanksgiving Miracle” American robin babies story last year?

The day after Thanksgiving 2019, birding expert Greg Harber discovered on the campus of UAB, the first ever confirmed nest of baby robins in Alabama, during the month of November.

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

Remarkably, according to Greg Jackson, the keeper of bird records in Alabama, the latest robins had been seen nesting in Alabama was on September 2nd.

Eventually, only one of the baby robins left the nest, and with great sadness, we reported the baby robin named “Blaze” passed on December 12th.

Meet Blaze, the first confirmed American robin to ever fledge in Alabama in the month of December. Photo by Greg Harber

Oops they did it again!

Evidently, the mom and dad robins, who reside in a UAB courtyard, did not give up having offsprings. On or around December 13th, three additional eggs were laid by the mom.

Harber, with the help of longtime conservationist Wendy Jackson, then named this extraordinary robin mom – Fedele – which means “Faithful one” in French and Italian.

Fedele, the UAB American robin that has produced 6 baby robins after November . Photo by Greg Harber for Bham Now

The robin babies hatched on December 27th and this past Friday, January 10, the three nestlings left their nest!

As of Sunday evening, all three robins survived the storms on Saturday afternoon.

She persists

Harber is particularly in awe of Fedele, a robin he has now been watching since Thanksgiving.

Mom robin keeping Blaze warm. Photo by Greg Harber

“It has been a fun, learning and educational adventure for me in terms of observing their behavior. Kinda in awe with Fedele. Despite all the obstacles, she persists in doing her job, whether it is cold or rainy. She only has 10 hours to feed them, when in the summer time she has 14 hours of daylight. That’s what makes it a real struggle, all the odds are stacked against her. Yet she still persist and manages to overcome.”

He recognized the robin dad too, who has been dubbed Lazerus by Harber because he leaves days at a time and has been given up for dead a couple of times, but always come back to the courtyard

Baby Robins – Faith, Hope and Love

Along with Harber, the three natural history making family of robins have been watched and monitored by Sandra Allison and Samm Bartee over the Christmas holiday and UAB winter break. They have also provided the robins and other birds in the courtyard, including a pesky mockingbird mealworms.

Is this Faith, hope or love?One of the baby robins that left the nest in the UAB courtyard. Photo by Sandra Allison, posted on Greg Harber’s Facebook page

Now that the three baby robins have left the nest, Harber has given them names too.

“We named the kids “Faith, Hope and Love – from Chapter 13 in I Corinthian,” he told us.

Weather is Favorable

Birmingham, Vulcan, Vulcan Park and Museum, Museum Day
The Vulcan statue watches over Birmingham. Photo via Vulcan Park and Museum

The next few days are going to be critical for the young robins survival. Fortunately, the weather has been abnormally warm and will remain so throughout the week.

What’s next? Fedele continues to help feed the newborns and hopefully they will become strong enough to survive the winter. It is all new territory, since no one has ever witnessed an American robin born after September in Alabama, let alone 4 months later in December.

Updates to Follow

Like Blaze in December, we will provide updates in the coming days about the miracle UAB American robins.

Stay tuned, to Bham Now.

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.