We were excited a few weeks ago to discover a robin’s next in the camilia bush outside our living room window. For a few days, this robin would come and go, sitting comfortably in the perfect little nest. After a week, peeked in to see four little blue eggs. It was so exciting to think we’d have a front row seat to see nature in action.

We were out of town over the weekend. On Tuesday morning, I realized I had forgotten to check on the impending brood outside the window. There was no sign of mama bird, so I leaned closer to determine what was going on inside the nest. I couldn’t find the bright blue eggs I had seen just a couple weeks ago.

I immediately started to worry. There were signs of down feathers on the ground. My first thought was that some larger animal had attacked and eaten everything. I tried to get a different angle on the interior of the nest and saw something move briefly. I guessed it was a baby bird.

My husband went outside to examine the area and take a better look around. We made sure not to touch anything in case the mama was simply out gathering food. The babies looked quite lethargic. It’s been warm but with so few feathers it seems unlikely the chicks were meant to be without their mother for too long. A photo my husband shot of the interior showed three babies. Two were okay, but a third looked like a little ball, as if it was still inside the egg shell.

Another day has now come and gone with no sign of the mother. A peak inside the nest showed no movement whatsoever. The babies have probably expired.

As a mother who’s expecting a child, this is just heartbreaking. I know it’s just the way nature goes sometimes, but I can’t help be a little disturbed. My husband has been great about it. He’s looked up several questions on the Internet to see if we could have done anything. We’re not ones to take a huge intervention in nature, but we would have been willing to lend a hand if it was something simple and non-interfering. He reassured me there really isn’t anything we could have done. It’s likely the mama either got killed or she was inexperienced at raising young and abandoned the nest.

I just hope those little ones didn’t suffer too much.