27 May 2009

The Return of the Robins


Two springs ago, a pair of American Robins built a nest in a holly bush on our front terrace. Since it is somewhat below grade we could see the nest quite well from our front steps. We could even watch it from inside our front door. It was wonderful keeping an eye on the nest waiting to see what would happen next. Unfortunately, what happened next were condo association improvements that directly threatened the viability of the beautiful nest and its jewel-like blue eggs. Despite our protestations, the nest got moved by human hands to a nearby bush. Just as the online information about the nesting habits of Robins had predicted, the parents abandoned the nest and the eggs never hatched. When the nest was first moved, one of the Robins stood looking at me from the original site of the nest as I entered our apartment. Over time the Robins had gotten used to our coming and going and trusted us enough not to fly away every time we came through. The bereft Robin parent, now eggless and nestless, seemed to be glaring at me as if the removal of the nest was my fault. I couldn't help but feel that, as a member of the human race, it was my fault.

Although lately I had heard some Robin birdsong that reminded me of that spring two years ago, I wasn't prepared for what I saw yesterday when I got home from work. As I approached our steps a Robin flew by me and perched on a nearby branch while another landed on the railing with building supplies in his beak. I looked over at the holly bush and sure enough they had started building another nest in almost the same spot they had two years earlier. Part of the holly bush is dead and slated for removal so I chatted with the condo management this morning to ensure that the Robin family could lay, hatch, and raise their kids without fear of another fatal eviction.

Having two small terrace gardens (front and back) consisting solely of things in pots and other containers, we are enthralled by anything that reminds us of the brilliance of nature and the life of a planet still not fatally impacted by human stupidity. John has taken a great deal of care choosing plants to encourage bee visits to our terrace gardens. We are doing our bit to encourage pollinators of all shapes and kinds, especially native ones. Even that is gratifying, to see the bees and butterflies continuing a cycle of life older than all of us. But having these Robins come back and share their family drama with us is nothing short of miraculous.

2 comments:

  1. That is super cool.

    We are supposed to be having a garage built sometime this summer (hooray!) which will entail tearing down the carport. Some small songbirds have a nest on one of the beams right now. I'm afraid I don't know what kind of birds they are. I am hopeful that they are done with the nest before that time.

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  2. Kaylee wants to say "The robin story was very good." To bad you could not write a children's book with your story. It would be a good one.

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