Monday, June 20, 2005

Robin (Turdus Migratorius or Red-Breasted Thrush)

I am a privileged human, blessed you could say. I get to make a living from two of the things I love most about life, art and gardening.

Today was a Nun day Monday where I worked at the Convent / Monastery. It was a beautiful last days of spring ‘day’, an early summer day, a workday.
We pruned the bottoms out of a grove of Aspen, de-seeded the Lilac with a light prune and cleaned up some dead limbs from a lovely White Birch Tree that’s going through some hard times these last two years. It is in a stand of about seven Birches trees, which I’m very fond of, the white peeling paper like bark.

One other thing I did today in my stewardship of the land was to clean up the broken body of a dead Robin. Its body lay in the middle of a grass field. From the damage done to the birds broken back, I can only think it was hit from above by a large Hawk. A large Red - Tailed Hawk lives in the woods nearby; one also lives near my house as well. I found it melancholy to have to dispose of its lifeless and already fetid decaying body. Such are my chores.

I not only found it sad because of death but I’ve been building a relationship with a family of Robins that have nested in our Norwegian Maple next to the deck. We watch the female and male coming and going laboriously with food for their three young chicks, which are rapidly becoming fledglings. I found this to be such a privilege, as I was writing my earlier post of March 29 “It is official, spring is truly here!” I couldn’t get a good photo of the Robin. Then as though a larger blessing awaited my earlier disappointment (May 31 “our garden becomes violet”, a mated pair of Robins built a nest in eyes view of my daily life. We sit on the deck and these birds provide us with bemusement as we try and not imprint too much of ourselves on them – I have been tempted to be Pavlov but resisted it – you know three trained Thrushes at my command like a Falconer – I don’t need that many worms.

As it is, I did climb up and take these pictures for you without coming to close or so I thought. When I first got up to the tree, the young birds reacted as though they heard an approaching parent and threw themselves up to receive yet another tasty morsel, their parents have been working so tirelessly.

After a moment or two, they realized that I might present a risk to them and pulled themselves deeply back into the nest, hiding in their own down comforters, cute really. I left them be and soon watched the father return with more food and everything was natural again. I only hope no Blue Jay hunting party discovers them, although they are getting large as chicks, Jays can be such raiders as beautiful as they are.

I’ll keep you posted on these birds. In the meantime, I’m getting weeks behind on all the flowers from our gardens. I think of it this way I’ll have something to write about in the winter.



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