For what seemed like forever, Mama Robin's kids were being "beak-fed" by their avian mom, who was looking thinner and thinner as she spent most of her time winging in and out of the nest with food.
The nest was on top of a downspout elbow under the eaves not far from our front door, so we had a good view of those selfish bird-kids, growing bigger and bigger, flapping their wings so vigorously it seemed it was time for them to stop mooching on Mama.
They grew so large, it seemed there was no room for Mom in the nest; but she found room.
Yesterday, in the noise and motion brought close to the nest by the tree-cutters, Mama Robin positioned her body firmly atop her chicks, holding them down in the nest so they couldn't move. She seemed to be protecting them even from the noise and the sight of the goings-on. All day she stayed there, never moving.
At dusk, when the tree men had finished their cutting and clean-up and left, she cautiously poked up her head and even more cautiously flew out to the yard. Nervous and jittery, she peered carefully around her as she collected food and, in multiple trips in and out of the nest, fed her ravenous chicks.
How long could she keep this up, we wondered, feeling increasingly sympathatic toward this overworked Mama.
This morning she was gone. So were her chicks.
The nest had not been raided by a predator; it was undisturbed; we could see the Robin family had voluntarily left their home. And their neighborhood.
There was no sign anywhere of Mom and the chicks.
Enough was enough, apparently. This was not a neighborhood for raising kids.