HURLEY, S.D. (KELO)-Earlier this week, we told you about a first sign of spring a viewer sent us. He was able to capture this picture of a robin perched in a tree in his back yard.

In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 2009 with KELOLAND’S Perry Groten and show you the unique place some of the birds built their homes.

A family of robins has been riding shotgun on the back of a backhoe at Johnson Construction. Owner Marshall Johnson didn’t spot the stowaways until he went to change a tire last month.

“Brought it over to the shop, and I put the stabilizers down. Then I noticed there was eggs on the stabilizer.”

The eggs have since hatched and now four baby robins and their mother have made themselves at home among the din of construction season. Johnson doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers, so the big rig is staying put for now.

“I could have used the machine several times, but I’m just gonna leave it sit until the birds get their wings and fly away.”

The robins couldn’t have picked a safer neighborhood to move into.

“I don’t suppose cats or anything could climb up on that steel too good to get at the eggs. Too slippery for them.”

Johnson checks on the babies several times a day.

“They’re just little fuzzy things now, but I suppose maybe in a couple more weeks they’ll get some feathers on them.”

The family’s gotten so used to Johnson, he can even try his hand at feeding the babies.

“I don’t think they want to take it.”

Apparently, the diminutive dinners prefer mom delivering the meals.

This nest isn’t the only home on the lot. Another nest is perched atop a truck tire, with eggs still inside.

“They should be hatching here any day.”

Johnson admits he’s grown so attached to the robins that he’ll suffer a spell of empty nest syndrome when they eventually take flight. But in the meantime, the robins will keep bobbin in the backhoe. In Hurley, Perry Groten, KELOLAND News.