Saturday, May 29, 2010


We have been honored to host a couple of industrious robins this spring.  I'm pretty sure it is only two.  They built a very messy nest over our back door and an incredibly perfect nest in the window box on the front porch.  The window is in Sam's bedroom closet, so we had a great view from in the house that didn't bother the robins too much.  They laid 4 eggs in the front nest first and three of them hatched.  It was just amazing to see them grow.  It seemed like they doubled in size just about every day.  

Our entire neighborhood was awestruck.  I could see them shushing their dogs as they walked by.  Several people told me that this was a sign of good luck - and they didn't even know about the nest over the back door!  The robins were pretty friendly while nesting, even letting me snap some photos.  I'm sorry to say, the pictures didn't come out.  But once the eggs hatched, they suddenly were not so friendly and began dive bombing anyone who came up the front steps.  (By a strange coincedence, "The Birds" was on tv that week.)  I began to think we could cancel our alarm system since we now have attack robins.  But Charley met one of them on the front steps and had a long conversation with it.  We assume it was the father bird since he seemed to have a Marine buzz cut hairdo.  After the man-to-man talk, they stopped attacking.  

Then one day the nestlings were so big I couldn't figure out how they all stayed squeezed into the nest.  The next day they were all gone.

Two days later, I noticed that the messy nest was occupied.  I discovered that I had a great view of this nest from my kitchen window.  Still no good photos.  Sam and I go out that door and I was a little concerned about the attack robin phase of robin rearing, but they didn't bother us.  They seemed to enjoy watching me with Sam. They would follow us as we walked from house to garage, chirping encouragement!  A horse breeder told me once that her animals seem to have an awareness that children with disabilities need extra gentleness.  I wondered if the robins knew that this was my fledgling.  Yesterday they all flew away from that nest.

This morning we noticed one fledgling on the ground in the back yard.  It seems to have "developmental disabilities".  The thing that amazed me was how hard both parents were trying to bring the fledgling along.  They just were not going to give up.  They were fierce about trying everything they could think of to help this last one get off the ground.  I was inspired by their determination.

I don't know what will happen.  Our back yard is a pretty safe place with plenty of stuff for a bird to eat while it takes extra time to learn to fly.  It looks like the parents know what they are doing.  

I have always heard that animals kill the "runt" of the litter.  It always bothered me.  This doesn't seem to be true for robins.  I'm rooting for them.  They aren't cold and uncaring.  They don't believe in survival of the fittest.  They are passionately trying to save this little one.  If they succeed in giving their runt that little extra boost, I'm sure they will be proud of themselves for years to come.  If the baby dies, at least they will know they gave it all they could and they did their best.  And the memory of the extra time they spent will be sacred.

I can relate.

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