How to feed your nestlings

A robin in the willows by Fiveways; it has a mouthful of invertebrates for a nearby nest of hatchlings. It doesn’t want to reveal its nest site so is waiting quietly for the photographer to go away but in waiting, is providing an excellent view of its catch.

A closer look reveals two caterpillars and a spider.

The green caterpillar looks like a winter moth (Operophtera brumata) caterpillar, staple baby food for many small birds that nest at this time of year. The spider, which has a pale stripe down its abdomen, looks like a rustic wolf spider (Trochosa ruricola) but we are open to correction. The red caterpillar, with its pale lateral stripe, is a mystery and if anybody can help us identify it, please get in touch.

It’s hard to imagine how a small bird catches a largish spider without letting go of the two caterpillars, probably both still wriggling, that it has in its beak already.

Photographs by Suzanne Humphries

UPDATE
An even close look shows that there is another prey item between the two caterpillars. It is pale green, long-legged and might be anything from a large aphid to a small grasshopper. Whatever it is, this robin is a champion provider for its brood.


More about our robins here:
Robins

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