Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

July 3, 2014

Mrs. Robin takes the day off

CROSSVILLE — Many years ago, in another state and climate, an old lilac bush held a surprise and a promise of new life. A robin had built a nest near an open porch which sported a swing that I used when I needed a break from the never-ending “to do” list. The street in front of the house throbbed with traffic going to and fro in an endless stream.

Separating the traffic noise from the buzzing of bees and birdsong was at times challenging, but as I sat there thinking about which project I wanted to tackle the next day I would note the traffic to and from the lilac bush. I took advantage of the span of time that Mrs. Robin left the lilac bush and returned to see what the it contained.

Three tiny babies with uplifted beaks created crinkles near my eyes and mouth as I gazed upon the sight. I could hardly wait to tell my husband when he returned home in the evening. What joy! I returned to my swing in time to see Mrs. Robin return to the nest with a nice, fat earthworm in her beak.

My husband shared my delight and we kept vigil for the Robin family’s safety. Our concern was that some of our neighbors’ cats spent a portion of daylight hours outside their houses.  We checked the progress of the babies’ growth and remarked how the downy coats had become feathers over time. Many a cat was dispatched from our yard when we caught sight of it.

The crowded nest attested to the coming attraction of fledgling flight. The chorus emanating from the nest became louder. We began to wonder how we could prevent the nest from being raided by a cat while Mrs. Robin foraged for food. Since none of the cats wore bells, we watched and listened for signals of distress coming from the nest.

One day, a calico made his way into our yard. He progressed to within a short distance of the lilac bush. Mrs. Robin was not present. I shoed and scolded the calico to no avail; he continued his slow, deliberate approach. Just when I thought all was lost, the whoosh of wings and flash of brown and red caught my attention. Mrs. Robin was not ready to have all her hard work sacrificed to a cat. Time and again she attacked the calico.

Our “babies” fledged the next day to our relief. The empty nest served as a reminder of our efforts to keep a family intact. We relaxed. Mrs. Robin sang sweetly and nodded as if to say “thank you” and then she took a much needed rest.

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