May 19, 2001 (continued): Funky Hairdos

Look at the fuzzy down feathers sticking up on these babies' heads! Do you think they like that Einstein look?

Q. Why do baby robins have fuzzy down on their heads when their other feathers are starting to grow normally?

Photo by Julie Brophy

Discussion of Previous Questions

Q. How will noticing the position of the sun in the sky during the day help a robin during migration?

Baby robins have a sense of time (an internal clock) and a sense of position relative to the sun. Using these together, they can fly around to position themselves to see the sun at the right angle at a particular time of day. This will help them return to the area where they grew up next spring.

Q. How does this crowded nest change the family's nighttime sleeping arrangements?

By the end of the first week, the babies are big enough to start keeping their own bodies warm even when their mother doesn't brood them. Plus their brothers and sisters are growing, and all the babies help keep each other warm. So at this point, the mother stops sleeping in the nest. Where does she go? To a nearby branch.

See the next Robin Nest Photo Lesson and discussion of today's questions.