Many of us at Penn Press recently noticed that a family of robins has built a home in the front doorway of our building. Business & Economics Editor Erin Graham chose the name Penny for the copper-chested bird who appears to be doing most of the nest guard duty.
While we can't easily tell whether a Penny or a Benny is watching the nest at any given time, we can be certain that the nest was built by the female member of the household--and not because the outer layer of the nest contains a tangle of pastel ribbons. According to Wildlife of the Mid-Atlantic: A Complete Reference Manual, by John H. Rappole, the female robin is responsible for the architecture and construction of the nest. Penny is also in charge of incubating her clutch of eggs. Wildlife of the Mid-Atlantic also says that robin nests are located "on a horizontal branch or a clump of trees." But Penny is a West Philly robin who knows how to adapt to our particular real estate market. If no decent branches are around, bricks will have to do. Perhaps she picked up some insights from Neighborhood and Life Chances: How Place Matters in Modern America, edited by Harriet B. Newburger, Eugenie L. Birch, and Susan M. Wachter.
Whatever the reason, we're glad Penny chose to make 3905 Spruce Street her address. Good luck to Penny, her mate, and their forthcoming brood.