How excited I was back in May when a robin built a nest in the rose bush on the porch and proceeded to lay three eggs in it. How hopeful I was in June when a sparrow built a nest in the hanging verbena basket and laid five eggs in it. How disappointed I was when the the robin and sparrow babies hatched only to disappear in a couple of days! Maybe if I live a few more springs I’ll learn the answer to what can happen to baby birds nesting safely in a thorny rose bush or in an inaccessible hanging basket.

So this time, when the same robin (or another robin) again laid three eggs in the old robin nest, I decided to keep mum. I thought that this time I won’t jump the gun and count my robins before they are hatched. Daily I watched. Step by step I watched the brooding, the hatching, the feeding, the GROWING! The growing is the truly amazing thing! I don’t know what the mommas feed those babies but it must be filled with growth hormone! A robin egg is not much bigger than a marble. And presto! In a week the babies are crowded in the nest and in another week they are almost full size and ready to fly. I find it incredible.

This morning as I checked the nest there was a fledgling sitting on the edge. Not yet two weeks old, this bird is almost as big as momma, but fluffy, with a speckled orange and white breast, rather immature looking. As I got closer, it squawked and fluttered down to the porch floor. Then it flew into a wall, then out into the great beyond! Marvelous! As I looked into the nest a second baby flew out and the nest was empty. I guess baby #3 had already left.

Of course I worried that they were out in world, looking so unfinished. That’s when I found Kathy’s Kritter tales and her day by day pictures of baby robins from start to finish. Very nice pictures, I must say. Thank you, Kathy. It seems the parents do not desert them once they are out of the nest but still seek them out and feed them. What dedication is built into some mothers and fathers!

Looking back, I took note of my use of the possessive “my” when speaking of the first robins to visit us. How I agonized over what had happened to “my” baby robins, as if I had been injured when some marauder made off with them. Of course they weren’t mine. None of our babies are. We have them just for a season and then they’re off and running (or flying), or dying, as the case may be.

Once again the nests are empty. Is there time for another batch of baby birdies in 2008?

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The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away ; blessed be the name of the LORD. Job:1:21