Thinking About Flying

There is a nest tucked in the vines just outside my office window. It is a sturdy nest, which was built by a pair of mating robins last spring and managed to survive the winter and several intense spring storms.

At the end of the longest winter, Iain was determined to pull the vines down this year so we could repaint the porch. I adore the vines, and don't want to lose them, even though I know the porch needs painting. But, a few weeks ago, a pair of mating robins settled in again, after making a few repairs, and shortly thereafter, Mama Robin had settled in, nesting her blue eggs.

Iain knew it would have to wait another year. He grumbled, but there was no way we were going to dislodge them.

We both love watching the hatchlings grow up. It happens so quickly. The teensy naked pink babies of three weeks ago are now goofy little fully-feathered robins, whose mother has been trying to get them to take their first flight for days.

This afternoon, they took their first steps outside the nest.

image of a juvenile robin sitting in thick green vines, just below a nest

They sit and chirp and stretch their wings, as Mama chirps encouragement from a tree across the yard. Occasionally, one of them will tilt its head skyward, open-beaked, as if to say, "I'm hungry! Come give me a worm!" And Mama chirps back angrily, as if to scold them, "Time to get it yourself, lazy!"

Juvenile robins are hilarious, often refusing to feed themselves long after they're actually capable, following their parents around and begging to be fed. They are comical and sweet birds, with big personalities whose moods are evident in their wide range of sounds. I love them so.

One evening, as we were headed in the front door, after standing on the porch observing the babies, just as they were getting their first feathers, Iain said, "I think we should turn off the porch light, so Mama Robin can get some sleep."

We may have to find a way to paint around the vines. Next year.

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