Dear Tom, You will never belive what happened with the robins. Gives me hope for humanity.

drama queen

Oscar says Mrs. Robin is a drama queen. That may be… but still.

Two days after he vanished, Mr. Robin reappeared. He showed up at the nest and boy, did he get a scolding. Reminded me of you and Ish when you’d pushed a few too many of her buttons!

Here’s what I heard– “Where the hell have you been??? I’ve been worried sick. You couldn’t sing a note to let me know you were okay? You couldn’t make an appearance? I thought you were dead, you stupid bird, and now you show up like it’s no big thing? Well, it is a big thing. Now get crackin’, Robin-monkey! These babies can’t feed themselves.”

And boy, did he ever. He, in fact, took over feeding duties for the rest of the afternoon. She took a bath in the birdbath, smoothed her ruffled feathers, perched in a the maple tree, chased off a couple ravens…

Oh the humanity! (And the joy on my part!) The squawking was loud and long and Mrs. Robin was every bit as irritated as you might imagine.

I observed Mr. Robin for several days and I realized just what he’d been up to. He’d been enlarging his territory, driving away a few rogue robins because he needed more places to find bugs.

A robin’s territory can extend from one-third of an acre to several acres. Initially our robin’s territory consisted of our yard, one-third of an acre, and our neighbor’s yard, three-quarters of an acre. Now he’s driven off two other males and he’s claimed our yard, the yards on either side of our yard – so that’s one-third plus three quarters plus one acre, and he’s added one of the yards across the street, another one-half of an acre, and the yard of the home behind us, another one-third of an acre. He’s been a busy bird. Two other robin couples had to move to make room for him.

This has been so cool to watch. And he did it again. He scared the bejeezus outta me this morning. Here’s what happened~

Jake and I went out for a hike. When we got home I heard the weirdest keening sound coming from the backyard. We went outside to see what was going on and Mrs. Robin flew right up to us. She landed on the garden fence, a foot from me and began this awful keening chirp, just like she did when Mr. Robin left the first time around. But this time it seemed she was speaking directly to me.

I was really worried. She sounded so upset and she seemed desperate, asking a human for help, that I was afraid something had happened to her babies.

I asked, “What’s wrong? Do you need help? What can I do for you?”

She closed her eyes and continued to make that sad sound.

I reached out a hand. I said, “Here, c’mere. I’ll help you.”

She opened her eyes and looked into mine, but she didn’t fly off. I nearly managed to touch her belly. She began to cry once again.

I decided something absolutely horrible must have happened. I brought Jake in the house and she followed right behind, landing on the window ledge outside the kitchen window. I kept an eye on her. She didn’t approach the nest at all, not for two hours. And I knew it, I just knew it. Somebody came and killed her babies and she was distraught. I wanted to give her a hug.

And then, after two long hours, here came Mr. Robin. She flew up into the redwood tree after him and you have never heard such an argument, such squawking and flapping of wings, gnashing of beaks. She had a fit. He’d done it again. And then the storm passed and they both began to feed the babies like crazy.

This afternoon all is well in Robinsville.

I told Oscar the story. He said two things: Write it down and Mrs. Robin is a drama queen.

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16 thoughts on “Dear Tom, You will never belive what happened with the robins. Gives me hope for humanity.

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Mr. Robin possesses much machismo, Alicia. He does what he wants. He truly is unique. Any robin who can pull off a Mohawk is something special. 😉

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      I love birds, Ray. And I love watching animals interact. I think of them as people in other bodies, but better people. This is why a mountain lion doesn’t frighten me. Animals are animals. Except for maybe a chimpanzee, there’s nothing personal, no malice. (I think chimps hold grudges.) Actual people, on the other hand, are much more dangerous.
      My mother always says, “Julia, you like animals a lot more than you like people.” She’s totally right! 😉

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  1. Roberta Hunter

    Robin Whisperer. I like that. A lot! 🙂

    What a cool story. When summer is over and all the babies have left the nest I think you should write a book about this, titled, of course, The Robin Whisperer and dedicated to Tom. He will like that.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Maybe, Roberta! The babies will be out of the nest in a couple weeks. We’ll see if the robins use the nest for the next brood.

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  2. Jaye

    Oh YAY for the robins. I bet I know who’s not getting any for at least a week. 😉

    You would love what happened outside my office window yesterday. A pair of jays brought their fledglings to the spot where I put out goodies for the birds. The jays know when there are goodies because when I put them out I call, “Here, kitty kitty kitty!” One I recognize because of his/her distinctive crest and he/she has been hanging my yard for years. So in the midst of the family jay picnic a squirrel showed up. Mama and Papa Jay (I can’t tell the diff between males and females) tag teamed the squirrel. I don’t like squirrels, but I felt sorry for this one. No place to hide. Hee hee.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      That must have been fun to watch! Jays are noisy and determined. And very protective. And they have a good sense of humor. Practical jokers. Birds have such a short lifespan it’s always nice to see birds you recognize year after year.

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