The short story, as tweeted by my husband:
We had a nest of 4 robin eggs in a waist high bush. One of our children was a little too curious and now there are 3. #lifelesson
The rest of the story:
Ever since we discovered the robin's nest near our front door, we've been very careful to avoid using the front door as much as possible. We didn't want to disturb Mama Bird. We were especially pointed in telling Robbie to stay away from the nest, that if the Mama Bird smelled human on the nest she would abandon it and the babies would die.
Last night, Mike and the boys were heading out to get supplies for Charlie's roller coaster project for school. Robbie said he would wait in the car. I didn't even notice when he went out the front door. A minute later, he came inside wailing hysterically.
"I didn't mean to! I didn't mean to! I'm so sorry!"
It didn't take long to figure out what he didn't mean to do. He had gotten curious about the nest, reached it and picked up one of the eggs and crushed it. I think he just didn't realize how fragile the eggs were and he didn't know his own strength. (Grapes of Wrath, anyone?)
He was SO upset. Almost inconsolable, really. We talked -- once I could get him to quiet down -- about how he did mean to go over to the nest and reach in and how that was disobeying what we'd told him about staying away. I told him I know he didn't mean to hurt the baby bird, but that disobedience has consequences and there was nothing we could do to help the baby bird now.
I told him I didn't know if the Mama Bird would come back to take care of the other eggs or not. Mike and I decided that if she didn't come back by morning, we'd call the DNR or a local nature center and see if they could take the eggs and incubate them until the birds were ready to hatch.
But within about 10 minutes, Mama flew back to the nest, poked her head in and ATE THE CRUSHED EGG! I couldn't believe it. So much for grief and being fearful of human smell (grubby, little boy, human smell at that).
Once her snack was over, she flew off, only to come back a while later and take up her perch over the remaining three eggs.
Now, that is a life lesson.