Monday, October 29, 2007
It's odd; the robins all disappeared for about a month, but now they're back with a vengeance. Every shrub and tree seems to have an orange breasted lounge-about hanging from it... eating, eating, and eating some more, stripping every berry from the garden. They flop and flap about, getting drunk on ripe fruit so that they just don't give a hoot about robin decorum. It's only when the pantry's bare that they finally realize begrudgingly that they are, after all, supposed to be migrating and showing a little majesty of nature by flying in a straight line and just in general getting on with it.
I've always thought robins are probably somewhat the dull blades of the bird world; I've never met one yet that dazzled me with a display of native wisdom or resourcefulness. I'm probably not on their A list anymore either, ever since I kidnapped a baby robin. One cold, rainy spring morning I found the remains of a robin nest under the spruce tree in our backyard; the nest in question looked like it had been constructed in a slapdash manner by a bird not overly skillful in nest making (I could have done better with one hand tied behind me). Unfortunately there was one baby robin already dead from exposure, and another shivering in the rain, with temperatures close to freezing predicted for that night. With no nest to put the baby back into, I didn't know what else to do than take it into my den, where I put it in a warm box filled with tissue. Liz called the animal shelter for advice, and it happened they had a volunteer who was a whiz at raising baby birds (I assume she had a recipe file full of worm recipes). Anyway, the little robin was whisked off to the animal shelter. Well! The two parents somehow knew that their baby was in the back den, and even after it was gone, they chirped and chirped from a low branch right outside the den window, then began pecking and beating on the window itself, and kept it up for two weeks before finally giving up. How they knew their baby was in an enclosed box, not visible in any way from the window, is still a mystery to me.
So, maybe I am, after all, underestimating robins, but this is not their finest time of the year.