May 27, 2009

Front Door Bird: The Final Chapter

Early on Saturday afternoon, I peeked out the front door and noticed that the mama bird, who had been gone for some time, still wasn't around and so decided that it might be a good time to get some quick photos of the two fast-growing baby robins that we discovered in the nest about two weeks ago. I got Griffin to get the camera and take some photos of their little heads, but from the ground it was really difficult to make out their features, so I asked him to climb up on a ladder and take a few from a closer distance so I could post them here. He was convinced that the mother bird was going to come back and peck his eyes out, but I assured him that everything was going to be fine as I hadn't seen her for some time. When he snapped the first shot, one of the birds freaked out, flew out of the nest and careened over to the next door neighbor's front porch. It was nearly adult-sized and fully feathered and could fly pretty well, but clearly had little in the way of effective steering capabilities as it smacked its head on the railing as it landed. Griffin was furious with me for making the bird go mental just to give myself something to write about. I told him that at least he still had his eyes and that the bird would be just fine.

We kept watch over the baby for a little while and when we realized that it wasn't going to return to the nest on its own and that the mother was still nowhere to be seen, we went next door and while Griffin blocked its path, I picked up the baby and we returned it back to the nest and its sibling. I have to confess that in spite of returning the baby safely to the nest, it was pretty freaked out by its sudden unplanned trip, standing bolt upright on top of the other baby with a wild look in its eyes for quite some time. Eventually the second bird grew weary of the little traveler crushing it, and pulled itself up and out of the nest. The two waited for mommy to return and when she didn't, they both left the nest which has now sat sadly empty for several days.

I was terrified that I had caused the mother to abandon her babies because I had touched one of them, but she was gone before my lapse in judgment. And given the size of her children, I believe it was time for her to leave them so they would become hungry and thus be compelled to leave the nest and face their new lives out in the world. My only regret is that I gave one of them a really nasty start to its first day of freedom. Sorry little bird and the neurotic life you will now probably lead...

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