It began with an empty blue egg on the grass. Shortly after, we began to notice the robins in our yard with renewed frequency. I found their nest one afternoon during a reading lesson. We stood under the oak tree squinting into the bright sun. The nest was hardly visible, so far in the uppermost branches.
Last week we heard a commotion outside. Robins were diving and squawking in a frenzy. I knew what had happened before we saw him. Manny was towering over a hardly feathered robin. We shooed the dog indoors (unbelievable that he didn't gulp the little guy down) and talked about what we could do. The nest was at least 20 feet up and inaccessible. I knew we couldn't leave him on the ground with the dog, neighbor's cat, and wildlife around. So we did what we've done before--named him, took pictures of him, and put him into a coconut liner as a makeshift nest. Then I pulled out the 7 year old homemade wooden ladder. The boys held the ladder as I climbed into the tree, not quite reaching the branch I was aiming for I abandoned the ladder for a hold on the tree, all the while balancing the 'nest' with baby bird inside in one hand. Finally reaching my destination, but still far from the bird's original home, I made a big mistake and looked down. My palms started sweating as I realized I was trusting the boys with my life and risking broken bones to place this bird in the tree.
We watched and waited hoping that the robins would feed their babe. We didn't see them coming to the new 'nest', but I hoped that we had just missed it. The next morning we decided that, if the baby had lived through the night, we would take turns feeding it until it could make it on its own.Not having learned my lesson, I climbed back onto the ladder--this time placing it in an even more precarious position and climbed up. I found the baby bird on it's side in the coconut liner, not moving. How hard that news was to break to the kids. It was a sad and sullen group of children who returned to the house after our discovery.