What Do You Mean, I Have To Catch My Own Worms?!

My faithful readers will remember the story from last week, of how the Mama Robin built a nest outside our bedroom window, how she nurtured the four baby robins and fed them every 10 minutes all day long , how the babies almost died in a terrible overnight rainstorm but how the heroic Mama Robin fought for them and poked and prodded them all back to life somehow against all odds, and how all four babies subsequently got big and left the tiny, crowded nest for greener pastures. (Whew! Now THAT was a sentence!) Here is an update on that story.

I swapped my usual work-at-home day to Tuesday this week. As I set up my work desk in the bedroom overlooking the empty nest, I have to admit I felt a little sad, remembering the day last week when I worked at home and I had such good company, with all kinds of chirping and activity going on right outside the window.

So in mid-morning, I took a 10-minute break to sit in the shady backyard and see what was happening back there. I wasn't there long before a large robin flew by and began searching for worms in the grass.

Suddenly, from behind the iris beds just below the empty nest, a small brown figure emerged. It was one of the baby robins from the nest! The small brown figure began raising a ruckus, chirping and chirping, and Mama Robin walked over and shared a nice worm with it.

The small brown figure had a rather clueless look about it. It did not seem to have much interest in learning to catch its own worms, but rather seemed to be continuing to rely on the mother for its snacks. (A mother's work, it seems, is never done.)

I took several pictures of the little brown figure, and noted that in this photo, you can see a little fuzzy cowlick on its head. In fact, it very much resembles the baby robin on the right in last week's picture of Mama Robin and two of the babies.

Later, in the evening, I was sitting on the front porch holding the cat, just before some terrible thunderstorms moved through, and I saw another juvenile bird step out from under the bushes at the edge of the yard. I couldn't tell if it was a robin or maybe a cardinal, I was too far away to see clearly. But the little bird stepped out like it meant business, advanced into the yard, tilted its head like it was listening intently, and then nabbed a huge worm and pulled it out of the ground! Well, that tug of war lasted for several minutes, and I'm not really sure who won! I know that at one point, it looked like the worm was winning, and I feared for a moment that the little bird might not only lose its battle but be sucked down into the Underworld, for some nefarious purpose known only to worms. And I imagined the conversation that might then transpire:

"Look, Marge, I brought us another one of those clueless little birds!!"

"Well, what do you want ME to do with it, Clem???"

And so it is that the baby birds around the yard emerge blinking from their nests, and sit around for a few days looking stunned and confused and ill-prepared, but gradually learn how to do all the bird things that birds do. And so let us give a round of applause, again, for the Mama Robins of the world, who take it upon themselves to raise the young ones up right. And also a round of applause, please, for the little ones, those cowlicked, clueless individuals who will (she said hopefully) eventually learn to be full-fledged birds, in spite of it all.

The song to accompany this photo is a gorgeous, 10-minute BBC version of the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd hit, Free Bird, from 1975. And now, if you will excuse me, I will turn the music up, and I will get out my Bic lighter and wave it in the air like we did back then, yeah, baby. *sways to the music; waves Bic; smiles*

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