Tuesday, August 9, 2011


A windy storm that roared in weeks ago blew out a screen on the "tree house" porch outside our bedroom.

We hadn't gotten around to putting it back, and early this morning I found Bob out on that porch trying as carefully as possible to "herd" a juvenile robin back outside through the open section. The little bird was clearly exhausted; perhaps from fear or perhaps because he'd spent the night trying to find his way out of the porch.

Bob had noticed the bird when it had begun tossing itself frantically against the porch walls and our sliding doors. Now clearly terrified, it was breathing with great difficulty as it settled to the floor, defeated.

I walked slowly to the little bird, crooning softly, and it didn't resist as I bent and gently picked it up and set it outside on the wide rail of the open deck.

Then Bob and I sat silently inside the porch, watching to see if the little bird would recover enough to fly away; we were also on the watch for predators that might be eyeing the little robin as an easy mark for breakfast.

As I had set the bird on the rail, an adult robin had flown in and settled on the glass top of a nearby table. Soon another robin---a juvenile---flew up to the gutter overhead, and yet another young robin perched itself on the edge of the awning. Now as we humans sat quietly watching the little bird, they seemed to be doing the same.

After a little time, the little guy on the rail began moving its head slightly, and after another few minutes he recovered enough to execute tentative flight into the thick branches of a nearby tree.

He was immediately followed into that same spot in that same tree by the robins who had been standing watch.

Can you blame me if I choose to believe they were the little bird's mama and siblings? Can you find a better explanation for this quiet little episode?

I share this because, though I have watched many robin families raised in nests in the eaves and evergreens around our country home, I never seen such evidence of family solidarity among them after the babies have left the nest.

My husband Bob, in support of the happy ending, made a point of replacing the screen immediately.