Boarders

“You’ve got a woman outside your window, I see.”

“What?” He looked baffled.

I smiled and pointed to the robin sitting on a nest about two feet from our bedroom window. My husband’s desk sits on the wall beside that same window. He sits there often and reads and blogs.

On the western corner of the house, where two windows engage in perpendicular union, we placed a bird feeder next to a forsythia, mainly so our dog, when she was a puppy, could watch the birds gather and nibble on seeds. We placed her crate in the corner so she could look out both windows and become absorbed in the activities of squirrels and cardinals and blue jays and robins and be happily occupied while we were away at work. We strategically placed a squirrel trapeze, a bird bath, a squirrel porch on a tree trunk, and a host of bird feeders in our yard to hold our young one’s attention. Once a teacher, always a teacher, and I’m a firm believer in providing educational opportunities for my kids … and dogs.

The years have gone by and the crate has long since been stored and I have neglected filling the feeder. So this one particular robin thinks it is fair game to build her house here, where she can look in our window and have company while she hatches her young. She has chosen my husband as her protector and overseer. She doesn’t know he doesn’t notice such things until they are pointed out to him. But she is wise, as he is quiet and tolerant and doesn’t meddle. Unlike me, for I am nosy and tend to want to know about everybody else’s business.

The robin, long known as the harbinger of spring, is one of the first bird species to lay eggs and usually prefers a large shade tree on a lawn. She is also among the first to sing at dawn — a song that says, “Cheer up, cheer up!” Mornings, I’ve seen her foraging in my grass, doing her running and stopping and pulling-up-worm motions her species is noted for.

I bounced with excitement the day I saw her clutch of three tiny blue eggs inside the nest, cuddled up together like you’d see in a storybook picture. She can produce up to three broods a year, but builds a different nest for each one.

I missed the hatching, and I really wanted to be there for the births. Yesterday, I saw the naked babies for the first time. Tiny ones. Sticking their little beaks up in the air. Statistics tell me that only 25% of young robins survive the first year. A lucky robin can live 14 years, but the average lifespan is two.

I try to take a picture out the window of the tiny things flailing about, waiting for fresh worms, but the shots are complicated by the flash on glass, the mesh of the screen, the blue and white stripes of my pajamas, my hand sticking out from under a hot pink robe. So I walk outside and sneak around to the corner, hold my camera up and snap. The dog walks with me and goes under the forsythia from which the bird feeder and nest arise. The robin flies away, shrieks at us, dive bombs, but not too close, sits in a branch of a nearby tree and sounds an alarm. She is frantic, trying to protect her babies. I tell her, “It’s okay, I’m done, I’m done. Just wanted a picture of them.” I leave quickly.

Soon, I’ll get to see the juveniles learn to fly and prepare to leave their home and go out on their own. Like my own kids have done … or are still doing.

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4 Comments on “Boarders”

  1. Sweet; very sweet. Reminds me of the time I saw a huge gopher tortoise out in the yard. Wearing my “tiger suit” — Buck’s word for my polyester animal print negligee — I ran out with digital camera in hand and confronted the ancient critter — who, teeth bared, declared “The papparazzi are everywhere!.” Your photos (especially the wide-eyed robin) are marvelous. By the way, my chocolate lab, Maggie, picks up that gopher tortoise from time to time and pushes it diagonally through her doggie door. Buck then has to return one ticked off tortoise to the woods. . . .

  2. inktarsia says:

    We all loved the pictures of the babies. How wonderful that you can see this right outside your window. She did right to pick Aforementioned Husband for a protector. Lovely, lovely writing.

  3. Aforementioned Husband says:

    The way I figure it, she is a voyeur seeking cheep thrills, hanging around outside my window as she does. She may stay as long as she remains current with the rent.

  4. inktarsia says:

    Just what does she see through that window? 😉

    Oh Kathy, you married a punster. Bet you put up with a lot of bad yolks.


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