A pair of Robins recently set up house in a climbing plant under the eaves just outside the kitchen window. In due couse a clutch of 3 eggs was hatched.

Unfortunately, the family is very camera-shy. Nevertheless, by setting up the camera on a tripod set firmly in the kitchen sink, and with a cable release that allowed me to shoot discretely without being observed - - -

Most of the time, while Ma and Pa are out foraging, the chicks stay hidden inside the nest. But on a hot day, they may come up for air and pant with their beaks open. Here one of the chicks has raised his head above the parapet to permit a portrait.

About every 10 to 15 minutes, all three heads surface above the edge of the nest in anticipation of a parent arriving with food. The timing is pretty good because usualy they only have to wait a few more minutes when -

A parent lands on a branch a few feet away - sufficient to jar the plant a little and rustle the leaves. Now the excitement of the chicks mounts as the parent observes the nest from a safe distance for a few moments.

The dutiful father (note the darker head) arrives with a cargo of worms in his beak.

Each chick in turn has a worm deposited individualy down his throat.

When the worms have all been fed to the chicks, it's time for housekeeping. The parent picks out any poop in the nest and removes it.

Over the next two days, we watched the chicks grow as they were fed regularly by Ma and Pa. Then one morning, one of the chicks climbed onto the very edge of the nest and sat there - occasionaly fluttering his wings and preening himself. Then as I was watching him from the deck, he suddenly launched himself - dropped precipitously close to the deck - cleared it and made it into a nearby Eucalyptus tree. Ma and Pa were very agitated but watched from a distance making encouraging noises.

Then this morning, there was only one left - and he had not only climbed out of the nest, but made his way to perch about 6 inches away. I grabbed the camera and he let me watch and photograph him from the deck for about half an hour.

Then suddenly, after one last reassuring flutter he launched - and crash-landed on the deck at my feet. Within seconds he was off again and managed to gain enough altitude to land on a planter box on the deck railing a few yards away. The parents were very agitated and making a lot of noise all along - and now the mother swooped down and nudged (shoved?) her child off the edge of the planter. This time he climbed competently into the Eucalyptus where Dad was calling - followed by mother.

The above picture is a composite of two shots of the same bird - taken at around launch minus 5 seconds.