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2006 Robin Nest BLOG

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A note about the architecture of this page.  The thumbnail pictures on the left can be clicked for a full size view. The thumbnails on the right will point to a streaming WMV video which will be selected to share videos captured in 2006. The video sizes are in the 3 to 50 MB range so best suited only for broadband internet connections. For best alignment please select medium text size under view if using IE browser. The first day's events will always  be at the top under "2006 Robin Nests" and each new day's entries will be beneath with the most recent being at the bottom of the scroll.

 

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2006 Robin Nests

A most unusual winter this year, with January unseasonably Warm and February colder than usual.  The Robin Mobs, having descended on the Holly berries cleaning them out, have broken up and the more familiar singular birds hip hopping on the lawns are now the norm. See the Robin Horde Video by clicking on the picture in the right panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Robin Hordes and Holly Berries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April 7, 2006

I have been on the lookout for any nest building activity in the hollies  as it was just about this time last year that I embarked on the  2005  Robin and Cardinal nest Blog which resulted in two complete Robin Nest video records of each from nest building to Fledging. Both Robin's Nest were completely successful , but the Cardinal family had a completely different outcome. Have been noticing two Robins especially in the side yard. One of them making frequent trips from the rear to the front with beaks full of  grass and straw. The other one I am assuming was the Male because he did no such labor, instead he declared war against himself or better a mere reflection of himself in the rear window of a neighbors truck , He attacked his likeness over and over again  and I hope he survived his own attack as he will be needed to help care for the nest of hatchlings sure to come.

At first I could not determine the location of  the under construction nest site, assuming it would be in one of the Hollies as usual. So went looking in earnest and decided to watch from a location in the front yard. She flew towards me with grass and mud in beak, but flew upward as if going over the house.  Then I spotted it already firmly attached to the crook of the downspout, high and dry, and safe from any black snake or feline predators, as well as safely out of X10 camera setup range.  Oh well, can and will monitor the spectacle from afar.

April 11, 2006

Looks like the Female Robin completed the nest, but I think no eggs have yet been laid.

April 13, 2006

Hmm but now a somewhat unique observation as I watched a Robin, and close enough to the aforementioned well placed nest, to be our Robin of interest,  appearing to remove her breast feathers from the previously determined area of the brood patch. She sat on the Maple limb for perhaps 15 minutes or more in my clear view and made several stabs, at her breast, removing feathers and then fluttering with her wings spread and then repeating the process. I think this was our Nest constructing,  Mother to be, Robin, perhaps preparing her self for the mating process and  the egg sensing function via the bare skin brood patch , for the clutch to come.

April 15,2006

What a difference a few days in the Spring make. The blooming trees and Spring Flowers are beginning to reach full glory and our breast feather plucking Robin appears to have  laid her eggs and is now incubating in her high and safe nest. Based on my estimate, I project we will have Robin hatchlings by April 28 and Fledging by May 14. Hmm really going out on a limb on this one. ( so to speak)

 

 

 

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  April 17,2006

Well a second Robin's nest is underway and this time in the Holly of ill repute. That is based on past records in this very Holly, a 2004 nest ended with the Black Snake devouring all, and in 2005 , the Cardinal nest ended sadly after a series of bad vibes, including the run- in with the Cowbird and then the neighbors cat and of course two un-hatched eggs from the start.  The camera watched today as the female Robin continued to work the mud and straw into the sculptured work of art which soon perhaps, will be a short-lived home to three or four squawking hatchlings. In a two hour period, she made 8 trips and on one occasion, the male visited the construction site briefly, bringing perhaps an earthworm lunch to the working Mom. Actually this was quite moving to me, or perhaps astounding, to think that these creatures so driven by instinct, yet seem almost  to have a deeper caring relationship toward each other.  Perhaps just the romantic in me and nothing more than instinct again, but still it works. After all, she deserved it as she does all the nest building work.

 

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April 22, 2006

The High and Dry Robin nest seems to be progressing normally and I predict the Hatchlings will appear by this time next week. No good news to report on the second nest noted in my April 17 entry, though , as  the nest seemed to be completed a day later, but now the Robin pair has not returned to the newly constructed nest in the Holly. It has rained almost every day since the nest was completed, but the nest remains intact but looks very muddy. I am hoping they will return as this is not unusual, for nesting to take place some time after the nest is completed. Hope this is the case.

 
 

 

 

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April 23, 2006

What a Difference a Day Makes

Thunder Day was a great success, not only for the Kentucky Derby Festival event, which drew a record crowd of about 800,000 folks to the air show and the magnificent fireworks conclusion, but also for the second Robin nest , the one in the Holly of ill repute. While noticing today that the Robin pair had returned to the nest and believe the second egg was laid, then looking at the tape from yesterday saw the Robin on the nest and believed the first egg was laid on Thunder day. At any rate checked it out today and saw two beautiful blue eggs which probably means the third one will be laid tomorrow. As we know that they only lay one egg a day.

At one point the Mother Robin on the Holly Nest left and two Titmouses came to the nest and appeared to be eating something in the nest. I at first thought they might be trying to eat the new eggs, but believe now they were after ants or other insects in the nest. At any rate when checking later confirmed that two eggs were still there and appeared to be intact

The other  Robin Mother still sits on the high and dry nest and I am looking for hatchlings this week. While taking her video picture today, she flew down very close to me and set out after an earthworm nearby allowing another photo op.

 

 

 

 

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 April 25, 2006

Another case of egg laying gap on the Holly nest. Checked it late Yesterday and still only two eggs. But a check today now reveals three blue eggs, so guess one of them will be a little later hatching than the other two. Incubation does not really start after the first egg, but begins to be a little more serious after two and now is underway in earnest. Nature's way of making the hatch day and subsequent Fledge day as close as possible for all concerned.

Observed also this morning a female Cowbird very near the nest and a moment or two later a Robin parent swooped down and engaged robustly. The Cowbird made a hasty retreat, but noticed then several times through the day, that when the female would leave the nest, the male would come to the nest and stay there until his mate returned and resumed the incubation process. The video shows one of these exchanges.

High and Dry nest Mother Robin still at it and hatching there should only be two or three days .

 

 

 

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April 26, 2002

Trouble in Paradise

First video viewings of the nest in the Holly of ill repute,  indicated all was normal, but when the Mother was off the nest for one of her routine breaks, I checked the nest via extended mirror, and discovered not the four eggs, I was expecting, but only two.  What ever happened to one of the three eggs, I will never know for sure, as there were gaps in tape recording times, due to my need to be away. I reviewed all I had but found nothing that would indicate the cause of the mystery. I suspect one of the Cowbirds was able to get in during one of the rare moments when both Robins were not at or near the nest. The male is spending a lot more time at the nest , never on the nest, since the incident. I believe much  more so than any Robin nest pair that I have observed over the last three or four years.  I think this is due to an abundance of Cowbirds this year, also much more so than in previous years. At any rate the incubation of this nest continues with I think two eggs, but will check it tomorrow.

High and Dry nest Mother Robin still at it and hatching there should be any day now.

 

 

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April 27, 2006

Hatchling Alert Breaking News---!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well it may not be a California Highway Police pursuit kind of breaking news but it is a news event around here. Actually one day earlier than I predicted for the first hatchling, and by my figuring about 12 days for the first one. The Mother was right in front of me before flying up to deliver what may have been the first meal for chick number one. At any rate a bit awkward for her until all (still don't know how many) have transformed their oblong blue egg into a beak gaping hatchling. I expect  our windmill fighting dad will now get in on the action by tomorrow starting the 12 to 14 day endurance test of bringing in insect delectables to the hungry mouths.

And on the Holly of Ill Repute Nest, the process remains in full swing with the male nearly always at the nest when the female leaves and as soon as she returns in most cases leaves immediately. Never have I seen such a show of nest guarding in all my Robin nest watching. I think losing that single egg to what ever predator, caused this reaction.

 

 

 

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April 28, 2006

The High and Dry Nest

As predicted yesterday, feeding has now begun in earnest, with the proud parents of at least two and maybe three, shuffling food in as fast as they can find it. Actually, even though the eggs and hatchlings cannot be seen from the ground, the body English of the feeding pair suggest to me that the second egg has hatched and perhaps there is still one egg not yet hatched. At any rate one of the parents can be seen in the video for today, gulping down a part of a egg shell. Notice how in some instances, they appear to almost bump into each other as the food is brought in. Notice also that even though plenty of earthworms are available, the food seems to be smaller insects for the one and two day old chicks.

The Nest in the Holly of Ill Repute seems to be normal with the incubation process and guard duty chores continuing as in the last two days. Expect hatching to begin on this nest by May 7 or 8.

 

 

 

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April 29, 2006

Hummer Alert-They're  Back---!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well now Nature related things are coming together pretty well so far in 2006. Early Spring Flowers have bloomed, the Trees are fully foliaged, Two Robin Nest under way , one with hatchlings, the other about 8 days away, and now the Hummingbirds have returned. Saw the first one at one of the feeders this morning, Not sure if a passer through or a permanent summer resident, but doesn't matter, where there is one, there will be others. Please visit our Hummingbird Blog  for more multimedia on the Ruby Throated Hummers.

The Team work continues on the nest in the Holly of Ill Repute and on one occasion, the Male seems to be alarmed when the Female has been off the nest for an extended period. Here in the video for today, he appears to escort her back to resume her rainy day egg covering duties.

 

 

 

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April 30, 2006

The last day of April and a rainy cold one at that. The Incubation continues on the Holly of Ill Repute, nest and the Male and Female are still working with precision teamwork to get these two chicks into the world.

Meantime on the High and Dry Nest, the hatchlings are spotted for the first time and there appears to be two only at this time but the feeding continues, now with full size earthworms.

 

 

May1, 2006

Time to take stock on our two current Robin Nest .

The High and Dry Nest as I refer to it appears to have two hatchlings although from the available view about 30 ft to ground level, it is difficult to be sure to this point. As they grow a bit, if there are more, then it will be known by tomorrow for sure. As I see it the hatchlings are 4or 5 days old which would point to a Wednesday eye opening. I doubt there is much for them to worry about since it is all about Location , Location , Location, and they have built a winner. No Snakes, No Cats, or other varmints can get to them and the only danger to the hatchlings would be from other birds but as they grow this is becoming more and more unlikely. Today the Robin pair was busy bringing in the now full size earth worms and posed a bit for me and a few pictures can be seen in the left margin,

The nest in what I refer to as the Holly of Ill Repute is proceeding normally with two eggs which I expect to hatch on or about May 7. The outlook for this family is much more in jeopardy, as once again, it is in almost the exact location of the now notorious, 2004 Black Snake Incident and the 2005 Cowbird and Neighbor Cat incidents. I am hoping this year will break the string of bad fortune, but I am a bit  doubtful and somewhat anxious.

 

 
 

 

 

May 3, 2006

On the High and Dry Nest the eyes should be open on one of two hatchlings since this is the sixth day. Probably the other one will experience sight,  tomorrow, for the first time. Pictures from today may not show that conclusively but appear to me to support my theory. They sure grow up fast, and by this time next week will probably have fledged or be very close to it.

Hope when they do they can fly well enough to avoid the ground as you never know what is lurking nearby --- LIKE A NEIGHBOR'S CAT. As shown in the picture, this brazen feline was ready to attack a Chipmunk when my picture snapping rousted it into yet another neighbor's yard. My question is -- don't they get enough chipmunks and birds in their own yard. Cats and folks who let them run wild just mystify me.

Getting close to hatch time on the Nest in the Holly of Ill Repute. Will have some close up video of that when the activity starts, I think in about four days.

Meanwhile the other wildlife characters are doing their thing, and caught this shot of a Nuthatch just an instant before he departed the feeder.

 

 
 

 

 

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May 4,2006

The Robin pair in the Holly of Ill Repute, continue their protective behavior of the two remaining eggs. It seems to me that this pair are more intent in this , than just about any nest I have observed. I continue to think that it may have been triggered by the loss of that one egg, which remains a mystery to me because a fresh tape was not rolling when the loss occurred. At any rate, I suspect the Robin pair knows and that is why they won't let the nest go unguarded for any length of time.  The first hatch could be only three days away now and in today's video, the female can be seen turning the eggs before taking a break. Note that in seconds of her leaving , the Male returns to the nest and almost seems to be checking and rechecking the number of eggs  in the nest. While the video is shortened , the male stayed at the nest for about 15 minutes before the female returned. When she did return, it almost seems as if they gave an affectionate buss as they passed . This changing of the guard occurred every time the female took a break and that seemed to average about 3 times every 2 hours.

And on the High and Dry Nest, the two chicks now both have opened their eyes as we have passed the sixth and seventh day. The feeding continues and their are plenty of worms to keep them growing . This nest story will be completed with fledging happening by this time next week. When I am taking pictures of the nest from below, the parent robins are actually finding worms within a few feet of me. The pictures for today show a close by Robin finding a worm and on the nest the two hatchlings, can be seen clearly with eyes open.

 

 

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May 5, 2006

SHAZAM Surprise - Surprise- Surprise

Quite a surprise today when trying to log what is going on in the High and Dry nest, made a pleasant discovery. In all the camera shots, I have taken to date, I have seen only two Hatchlings, but looking at the few pictures I snapped today, found that there are at least  three in the nest and all eyes open, which means that all three have passed their sixth day. I am still predicting that they all will fledge no later than next Thursday, May 11.

All appears still to be well on the Nest in the Holly of Ill Repute, and hatching by Sunday, May 7 is my prediction.

Tomorrow is Kentucky Derby Day and the day that most believe it is safe to plant annual flowers to insure no frost loss,  and we are no exception, so as the early Spring flowers fade away, tis time for the summer blossoms to take center stage.

Looks to be a bumper crop of Grey Squirrels, as the young and frisky are beginning to descend on the feeding grounds. Caught this pensive either pregnant or perhaps already nursing a litter , female , probably returning to her nest somewhere in the upper reaches of the tall Oaks.

 

 
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May 7, 2006

Barbaro Betters cheer and Deuces are wild at Ill Repute

The 132nd  Kentucky Derby is now in the history books.  What a day yesterday  for the event and the  near record crowd at Churchill Downs. Congratulations to the owners, Miracle man trainer, and the rider who brought him home. The weather was perfect and NBC's coverage put our city in the world wide spotlight and it couldn't have been YUMier.  If some of the Blimp overhead shots could have widened out about 14 miles or so as the Robin flies, from Churchill Downs,  they just might have caught the Ill Repute Holly Nest  on hatching eve. While no gala was in full sway, the miracle was about to happen.

Just as I  predicted ,and this time got it right, May 7  is the hatch day for the two chicks,  which I will now refer to as Deuces Wild.

Hatching did occur this morning and our Robin parents are slowly getting into a new routine. I say slowly because , it is cool this morning, and it seems the primary activity is keeping those chicks warm, feeding has begun but it is in no way hectic as it will become in the next day or two. A rare moment for me as I noted shortly after the hatch , the male who was at the nest alone having brought in a small amount of food, was intent on getting egg shell pieces cleaned from the nest, and then the sounds of Blue Jays close by sent him instantly to  cover the chicks in the nest. A rare sight to see the Male in the nest, and he remained there covering the chicks for about 10 more minutes even after the noisy Jays had flown away.

In the Afternoon, the feeding activity increased dramatically as the temperatures warmed, and it is amazing how much the chicks appear to have grown , just from morning till afternoon.

 

 

 

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May 8, 2006

The number of hatchlings in the High and Dry Nest, is no longer a mystery, unless of course there is yet another hidden and out of sight. The first photos on the left shows three mouths agape, and worms being stuffed in them. These chicks are all about to leave the nest as fledging should occur no later than Thursday the 11th, by my reckoning

Click on the thumbnails on the left for a full size photo.

 

Heads or Tail is what I call the third photo as two hatchling heads can be see and the third tail section is visible and in the fourth photo for today two of the soon to be fledglings seem to be contemplating the world that awaits them or perhaps making trajectory calculations for their first flights. 

Yesterday while planting some 100 Impatiens and in almost every excavation  loosing two or three squiggly earth worms upon the world, I soon gained a companion as I made my way across the planting area. The Robin was coming along behind me and scooping up the morsels, and many time being within 5 or 6 feet of my aching bod. She would leave for a few moments, and then return to clean up after me. I believe it was our High and Dry Mom, but could also have been our Nest in Holly of Ill Repute Mother.

 

 
  May 9, 2006

Today the Hatchlings (Deuces Wild) in the Holly of Ill Repute, are two days old. The Male has been the feeder so far and the female has primarily kept the chicks warm, and does hygienic house cleaning chores. Probably tomorrow, she will begin to share more in the feeding program  as these chicks will demand more and more grub. (food sense not the larva sense. Although they most likely would not turn that down either, but no doubt prefer the earthworm diet).  So far -- So Good  - As we are hoping to beat the curse of this holly location.  Today's video shows one of the many similar feeding events at the nest.

 

 

May 10, 2006

Well the High and Dry nest of three fledged yesterday and I missed the event. Today a stormy and rainy day and when I checked , the nest was empty. Actually since hatch day was April 27 that would be about right as it would make it 12 or 13 days in the nest. I did not spot them around today, but usually they will be high on a limp perch and dear old dad will be bringing the worms for a while just like when they were on the nest. By tomorrow or the next day, they may be spotted hopping along behind getting their education and then within two weeks it is over, they are on their own.

Meanwhile Deuces Wild are becoming more demanding on this their third day. The rain made no difference except the worms were easier to find and the chicks looked a bit bedraggled. The video today shows one of the many many feeding events.

 

 

 

  May 11, 2006

Whether Rain, sleet, hail or snow -----------

Today was an off and on cool, stormy day and the parents of Deuces Wild displayed once again the amazing resource these birds have when it comes to raising their young. The pattern of feeding is the same as yesterday with the male doing his role as hunter gatherer very well. He does pretty much all of the feeding, and the female remains on the nest keeping her chicks warm and dry. The Video selection for today shows one of these feeding runs at the height of a passing hail storm. His routine normally is to arrive with the worms, the female will exit the nest, and he will deliver the goods to the gaping beaks, then both will do house cleaning duties. During a hail storm this routine changes as she must protect the 4 day old chicks from the pea size hail. She will not uncover the chicks, so he finds a way to deliver the worms to the chicks, actually under her wing. Later when the storm ends he retunes with a more normal feeding.

 

 

 

May 12, 2006

Still very cool and rainy today but the feeding schedule shifted into a higher gear, near frenzy. Deuces Wild have grown amazingly since yesterday and the obvious metabolism characteristics that turn these earthworms into robins that seem to grow before your very eyes, are astounding.  So far the curse of this holly bush has not wrought yet an evil deed, and tomorrow the sixth day, the little ones should see their surroundings for the first time. Today's video shows two or three feeding events and demonstrates just how much these hatchlings have grown.

 

 

 

 

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May 14, 2006

Deuces Wild  Eye Opener delayed till Mother's Day

Yesterday was the sixth day and the day for the hatchlings to open their eyes. It appears that the camera eye caught them open for the first time only this morning and I am guessing that the event must have happened during the dark hours between the sixth and seventh day as they were not open on any of the video yesterday. At any rate the eye opening now confirmed on this  the seventh day which is also another milestone for this duo. It  marks the midpoint of their stay in the nest if all goes well. Actually a bit beyond if they follow the High and Dry trio's example of about 13 days. Our balmy Spring has now turned to wet and unseasonably cool weather persisting for the last week, and now expecting to continue well into next week. Because of this and the continued need for the female to spend more time  brooding the chicks, and less time helping her mate bring in the food, I will make here and now the prediction of a delayed Fledge and occurring on May 21.

The beat does indeed go on however with the rest of the wildlife as the High and Dry fledglings can now be seen more and more attempting to get their own worms or waiting to be fed on the ground by their instructor Dad.

It seems the whole countryside is alive with thousands of High and Dry Fledgling look-alikes, nearly everywhere you look. This must be a bumper crop season for all the birds and critters, as their is also an explosion of young and full of vinegar gray squirrels, who yet  have to learn they cannot beat the squirrel baffles on the feeder poles. It always takes a little while for the young and uninitiated.

 

 

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May 16, 2006

Today Deuces Wild, the Two hatchings in the nest of the Holly of Ill Repute, are 10 days old. From the looks of the birds and their activity in the nest, I am probably going to miss my May 21 Fledge date prediction. I now think it will be sooner, maybe even the 19th. They are becoming quite active in the nest and have grown considerably in the last two days. If all goes well, and they fledge without incident, the curse of this Holly tree spell may be broken. So far no snakes , cowbirds or cats have threatened this Robin raising undertaking. Today's Videos will illustrate their size and enthusiasm.

 

 

 

 

May 18, 2006

The main event draws closer and within the next few days, really any time now, we will see a  Deuce debut into the big world. Lots of activity at the nest and the growth of  Deuces Wild is causing both parents to bring in the nourishment on a stepped up schedule. Today is the 12th day for them and I believe tomorrow or Saturday for sure will see them take flight. I am especially hopeful that we will break the two year string of calamities in this Holly tree location. At any rate, I will be trying to keep the tape rolling and catch the fledging process once again.  Today's video shows a little wider scope of the activity.

 

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May 21, 2006

Morning

Well, looks like my original prediction on fledge day for Deuces Wild may be accurate even if I wavered a few days later. I was sure they would leave yesterday or even the day before. This is the 15th day of their existence and the two are a definite nest full and as I watch them on the monitor at this moment are standing on the rim of the nest.

Afternoon

Well that was then and this is now. Fledging time and another duo of excited young Robins have just left the latest Robin factory, this time in the Holly of Ill Repute, once acclaimed, but now redeemed, and into the big Robin world of worms and berries. They will now take their place along with the earlier cousins of the high and dry nest, to help  keep the spectacle alive for all the human young, some  near fledging and some still in the nest, to wonder at and learn from in the generations to come.

The last day in the nest was a picture perfect day to leap into the big world. The parents had been pushing for this as they had really cut back on the feeding, perhaps to help make the chicks a bit dissatisfied  with the status quo, or perhaps now that almost adult growth had been achieved, the metabolism no longer required such a quantity. At any rate, there had been much picking, pruning, and wing flapping going on for the last two days in the now crowded nest and today the fledglings each followed closely on the wings of a departing parent, albeit about 90 minutes apart.

With the successful fledging of this nest the Holly tree has now be absolved of the two year curse and hopefully will retain that absolution status into perpetuity. I can claim that my first prediction for fledging on this date was accurate after all.

The Videos for today as we close out this nesting episode of our 2006 diary. The first brave fledgling leaves the nest accompanied with a little Frederic Chopin. The Classics and wildlife just seem to go together. To me anyway. The Second fledgling stays for another hour plus in and on the nest and in this case also follows a parent out of the nest, with two cameras recording the event. The Third Video is just for fun, but did indeed happen just before the second fledgling took flight.

 

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