We went away for five days and came home to find a robin building a nest in the crook of the downspout of our gutter. I live in Massachusetts, in Northeast United States, so she's probably an American Robin, although they don't vary greatly from the European varieties. I've never seen a nest this close, and am thrilled! Although it's too high to see inside, it's still really exciting watching the robin come and go.
I don't know if this is her first nest ever, but it certainly is in that spot. Right now it looks like a lot of dried straw-like material hanging down, with a small solid section at the top. From pictures I've seen online, the top part should be more round and deep, so I don't think it is finished.
I know there are many factors involved in making a "successful" nest, and she won't lay eggs unless they're met. I've read here, here, and here that mud is an essential component, and is used as a middle layer to hold the nest together. The sources instruct that if there's no wet dirt available nearby, a container of mud should be left near the nest. Is there anything else I can provide to assist her in the building process?
Please excuse the lack of clarity in these pictures. I took them quickly while she was away, and I wanted to get them posted. Click on them for a larger view.