In recent days I learned that robins are a Village People. When I approached the nest it was not just the parents who dived and squawked at me, but an extended family of robins. Would that we humans might learn from them, and protect all the children who are threatened… At noon yesterday, two babies flitted out of the nest. For a while they were inside the dog pen – there’s a photo of one seeking shelter by my basement door, and one a look down from above on another huddled in the corner of the dog pen. I left so they could relax, and it appears, they left too!
At 7 this morning there was only one baby still in the nest. An hour later I had the privilege of watching Mom or Dad working with what I would guess was the most recent fledgling. Parent hopped on the ground amid the trees in the deepest part of my back yard, baby robin hopped and then flitted (phase one of flying I guess) to keep up.
8 a.m. It’s a good thing I didn’t need to go to work this morning because for over an hour I have been watching this new life unfold. The baby finally got up onto a branch 4 or 5 feet off the ground. Thus far, and no farther! … I have watched the baby flap its wings and then spread its tail feathers – thinking now, this is when the baby is going to lift off. But no, not yet. Parents continue to return, keeping a watchful eye. More flapping, and then the robin lifted its body up on its legs, down, up, down, up – kind of like robin push-ups! Now I have a better understanding of the word “risk” – this is the requirement for letting go. The next move was standing on its tippy-toes; but alas, still not ready. One or more (how could one be sure…) of the other babies have made passes through, I like to think offering encouragement. It’s interesting – the family seems to stay together at least for a while, beyond the confines of the nest.
9:30 a.m. One and a half hours of branch time and “risk” has been lived out – the fledgling has spread its wings and flown! Having checked the nest once more I conclude this was the last baby. My status now official (and literal): I am an empty nester. It has been a delight to be able to observe...
[See Robin-Hood photo page for pictures over the weekend (last 3 or 4 rows). The first baby is I believe, “alpha baby” – always with its mouth open. Imagine feeding four of these babies for a two week period! There’s a photo of a protective parent scolding me, last night’s capture of “and then there were two” and this morning’s “only one”, followed by its final moment on the branch, and the clean house that was left behind. I also added a timeline at the top of the page so I’ll remember just how long it takes for all to unfold.]