Fat Robins are jumping all over my yard. Teasing me. Making me as nervous as a deadbeat dude waiting for the results of a paternity test.
The ticker tape running through my mind: How many babies will we have this year? Baby birds, of course. Before you open up a whole interspecies dating can of worms, let me explain.
For years now, Robins have built their nests in awkward places on the Gregorific property. This has challenged us to do the responsible thing for the birds, however difficult.
So I donned gloves and moved the nest to the crook of a tree ten yards from my door. I scoped out the relocation very carefully. Honestly? I felt like Daddy Warbucks doing a favor for this young bird family. I was upgrading them for free.
They rebuilt the nest. In the wreath. On my door. As if to say, "Deal with it. We like purple."
The rest of that season we used the back door. It was awkward, sure. Telling guests was a bit tricky. When people dropped by, we would look through the window closest to the door and flap our hands in makeshift sign language, attempting to convey: a bird nest is on our door wreath, so we can't open. We finally made a written sign for visitors to please enter through the back door. It was somewhat off-putting.
Eventually, the eggs all (!) hatched and the birds grew slowly, so slowly. I wanted to harvest juicy worms and speed up the process but I had learned better than to tamper with nature. Or so I thought.
This chapter of the story ends well. The babies grew bigger and louder and eventually flew away. As soon as I could, I moved the wreath to the garage, and saved the nest for posterity.
Seasons passed, the story became cute with time. We went through the predictable seasonal door decorations: cornucopia, evergreen wreath, heart, shamrock. Then came time for the purple wreath. Spring. Fat Robins. Yes, they built their nest there AGAIN.
But it turns out maybe they liked the holly bushes near the door to hide in, instead of the actual color of their abode. Because the Robins abandoned the nest in the wreath, hung on the tree. They rebuilt in the bushes near the door.
This sparked dissension in the gregorific ranks. Mediation occurred. Boundaries were set. We agreed to co-exist with the Robins. Every time we opened the door, we startled the mother and she would burst out of the holly bush, and fly up to chirp-scold. This caused many a pants to be peed in, near heart attacks, and creative cursing by anyone visiting or living here. We ended up using the back door again, unless a certain person’s pride had to be fanned. Occasionally we had to concede: "Yes, you pay the mortgage, you can use the front door--just this once."
Needless to say, that purple wreath has been granted an early retirement. Now we have a beads and bells wind chime on the door. Sure, it’s attractive to look at, but more importantly, it makes noise. Plenty of scraping and tinkling. No bird wants to live around that kind of competition. Case closed?
It was the biggest, bestest bird house those Robin’s will ever have. When the baby birds finally hopped out and flew away, which we actually got to witness, we waited a while and then moved the empty nest to a tree.
And now, Spring teases us again. I have the chimes up, the purple wreath settled happily in a Florida condo, and the clubhouse is now home to a bright red wooden robin with propeller wings that spin in the wind, and flashy metallic duct tape ribbon has been attached to the wizened squirrel’s tail.
We’re set, people. Soon I will have the answer to the burning question:
How many years does it take a gregorific to solve The Robin Riddle? ...2010, 2011, 2012, 2013…
No Bully Zone,
And yup, I know, the birds have all the power. Hence my subordinate tiptoeing and years-long, passive plotting.