June 17, 2004
I went out late yesterday afternoon to check on my flower garden, as I always do. As I stepped on the brick walkway in my garden there was a sudden flurry in my tall irises, and a robin burst out. But it didnít go anywhere. It sat there watching me with a wary sharp black eye, refusing to move. There was no apparent injury, but it obviously couldnít fly, and took shelter in my garden. It didnít appear to be suffering or agitated over anything other than my approach, so I quietly backed away.
I checked on it towards evening, and it was nestled near the irises, head tucked. I decided my flowers could do without water that night. It didnít even budge as I approached, and I hoped it was only sleepy and not ill.
I had to run errands today. As soon as I went outside, I checked for what I was already thinking of as ďmyĒ robin, but there was no sign of it. There was also no sign of any feline foul play, so I hoped it had simply moved on.
When I came home from running my errands, I immediately looked towards the garden, but there was no robin. Then I put my foot on the first step of my deck and did a double take. There, sunning itself on my bottom step, was my robin.
I quietly eased down beside it, and it watched me, but didnít move or act nervous. I sat there, not two feet away from it, closer than Iíd ever been to a live wild bird, and studied it. Perhaps we studied each other, but I apparently didnít alarm it at all. Its breast was not a rich red, but more cream with rust patterning. I decided it must be a female because its coloring was not nearly as bright as some of the robins Iíd seen hopping about my yard. It made no noise, but its throat was working as though it were trying to speak to me. Its chest seemed a bit bony, but I had never seen a live bird so close up, so I wasnít sure if it was starving or if it normally looked that way. I wondered if it had babies somewhere, and a mate who was caring for them. And, again, I wondered what had happened to it. I wondered if it was really that trusting of me, or too sick to move. Its beady black eyes were certainly shiny and alert. I wanted so badly to reach out and attempt to stroke its feathers, but that seemed like a breach of trust somehow.
A truck roared by, and the bird turned and dived under my open deck, ending the moment. I got up and continued on into the house. A few minutes later, I looked out the window overlooking my deck and saw the robin hopping around the yard behind the deck. It had a worm in its beak as it scampered back under the deck.
What will become of my little friend, I donít know. Perhaps it has something fatal, and nature will take its course and I will find it dead. Or perhaps nature will take its course in another way and Iíll find a bunch of feathers in my yard. Or, perhaps, it will stay sheltered under my deck and in my irises and regain its strength, and one day it will just be gone. And I will watch the robins that flock around my yard and look for one that is just a little bit less shy of me, that lets me approach a bit closer than the others will. And I wonít know, of course, but Iíll assume itís ďmyĒ robin, and it knows Iím a friend.
But, whatever the outcome, I will always feel honored that an injured robin chose to take sanctuary in my flower garden.