While photographing a male Robin recently, I wondered why he lingered and was standing so tall and alert. In a minute I knew. Out toddled his nestling, too soon out of the nest.
He was still wearing his bluish blood feathers, the tiny tubes that nourish developing feathers with the blood they need to grow out fully so he can fledge. In the meantime, Pop brings mouthfuls of worms and attentively watches out for him. The nestling was asleep among the leaves on this occasion. The male woke him with several greeting chirps, paused to look around before approaching him, then fed him the worm in tiny pieces. The nestling responded with a gaping mouth but he never uttered a sound. None of the persistent rattles you often hear from nestlings in the nest or fledglings still begging to their parents. This little one seemed to know that his safety depends on both stillness and silence.
To see photos of the male Robin feeding the nestling click the link. The nestling is beautifully camouflaged, blending into the leaves and twigs. And don't miss his Einstein-like tuffs of fuzz around his crown!