The Tao of Nature
I have two interesting stories about nesting robins. These stories tell of the bonds of birds and their young, and how intelligent these birds can be. The first story happened to me abut 15 years ago. The second story happened today, July 27, 2017.
I was working in my yard when a large robin flew by my head. I paid little attention to this at that time. Then I noticed that the robin continued to dive-bomb towards my head but never making direct contact. It seemed to be trying to move me away from the spot I was working in. I have no idea if this was a mother robin or a father robin, since both tend their nests and feed their young. This strange behavior continued for some time, until the robin had forced me to move within two feet of of our above-ground pool. The robin persisted by flying closer and closer to my head, to “push” me closer and closer to the pool until I reached its frame. Then I saw it. Then I realized how this intelligent bird figured out a way to get me to see its chick now having great difficulty staying afloat in the pool water. I knew I could not touch the chick, but I had to save it. So in the pool I went and netted it in an old bird nest sitting on the deck. I placed the “saved” chick in the nest on the deck just high enough to protect it from cats and allow its parents to come to its rescue. Soon they were feeding it. In a few days the chick was gone and so were the parents. I assume it flew correctly without landing in what must have seemed to be a gigantic ocean to the very small chick. I experienced very strong feelings of gratitude at that time. Gratitude for my actions, for the chick, and for its parents. Gratitude for the beautiful and mysterious Tao of nature surrounding me in life.
I looked out my dinning room window to see a large robin chick dangling on the edge of its nest. This was the second time this Summer that robins had hatched chicks in the same nest on a porch rafter. It looked like the chick caught itself in some plastic string used in building the nest. The poor bird was just dangling, struggling helplessly, hopelessly. I had to do something. When I went out to investigate the chick began to screech out of fear, and several large robins flew by my on the porch. I think they were simply warning me, flying very close to me simply trying to save their third chick. I had seen three small heads pop up each time an adult delivered food to the nest. So what to do? I did not want to leave the chick to its fate, and I did not want robins pecking at my head in defense of their own. I grabbed a flat piece of wood and a scissors; I went out to the porch, quickly cut the plastic string and caught the chick in its fall on the board. The chick landed eventually on the porch floor. It was breathing heavy, and I think its leg had been injured in the tangle. By that time several robins were harassing me; they meant business. My good deed done, I left the chick on the floor and observed several robins flying on to the porch. When I looked out a few minutes later, the chick was gone and no adult birds were anywhere to be seen. Worried that the injured chick had fallen off the floor onto the ground below, I went out to investigate. I was unable to find the chick. Soon, however, two robins came to the porch making all kinds of noise – probably trying to communicate with the chick. Then I noticed the adult birds very cautiously (after quite some time of just hanging out) flying to the ground where I had been searching for the chick. I watched one robin go into the brush nearby, entering with an insect in its mouth and leaving empty-beaked. I guess they found their chick, and were continuing to nurse it back to health. Because I cannot disturb it, I will never know if that chick made it or not. One thing is certain, the parents were in no mood to give up; they continued to cautiously land on the ground with food. I think it is a happy ending just like story 1.
So now I have a renewed respect for robins, one of my most favorite birds.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
New Edition of Mindful Happiness in Production…Coming soon!