About two years or so ago we found a baby Robin in our yard. It was a nestling who was abruptly pushed out of it's nest.
We brought Ella in and fed her, and watched her grow. One day she decided she wanted to fly. Not so successfully, she attempted a very awkward trial flight from my finger.
After landing abruptly on our carpet, she decided flight was over rated and began hopping. She loved hopping on the carpet.
Ella was treated like our child. She was fed, petted and watched over like her parents would watch her. Our son would call her name from his bedroom down the hall and she would hop her way to him from the living room.
As she grew, we moved her home from a box to a cage, but left the door open. She would jump from stick to stick, swing on the swing and play with her mirror and bell. Inside the cage she would flap her wings to help her jump.
One day, almost overnight, her wings became too long to flap in the cage and I assumed it was time to let her try to fly from my finger again. This attempt proved to be more successful.
Ella flew from my finger to the mantle, from the mantle to the fan in the living room. I stood there with a broad smile on my face until I noticed the den's fan was on.
I ran to the switch and noticed Ella eyeing my movements and the fan in the den. I hit the switch and reach up to stop the blades from turning, just in time for Ella to land on one.
She flew about the house from that day on. Her cage was merely a resting stop for a short night's sleep.
Early morning was announced by Ella who gleefully met us in the morning with a song. Her tone was almost demanding as she chirped and whistled us awake, as if to say, "hurry, get up and look how beautiful the day is starting!" Her sheer joy was contagious.
All was not perfect with Ella flying about. She may have eaten like a bird, but she relieved herself like a drunken sailor, everywhere! We were constantly cleaning up after her as she flew from one room fan to another.
The attention she needed was significant. One day we took her outside and opened the cage door. She jumped out and stood on the cage as if the world was too big, the sky too blue and the noise too loud.
The noise was other birds, of all species singing joyfully in the trees. Ella stood there for a long time, looking and listening. She finally got up the nerve and flew 30 feet to the neighbor's shed roof.
Worried something bad might happen, my wife called her name "Ella, Ella come here Ella" and without hesitation, Ella flew back to her cage.
Gail, my wife thought that should be enough adventure for today and brought her back in. For the rest of the day Ella sang and flew about the house stopping at everyone's shoulder as if to tell them of the adventure she had that day.
The next day our son Steven and Gail took her outside again. This time Ella stood on the cage for only a minute then flew to the shed once again.
It was familiar territory for her and the flight was short enough for her to build her courage. This time Ella knew what she had to do, she had to see more of this big world she just met. Ella flew off.
Thinking Ella was gone for good, Both Gail and Steven went back into the house. They left the cage out side, in case Ella needed a place to stay.
A couple hours later, Steven and Gail went back outside but Ella was nowhere to be seen. Steven called her name only twice. Shortly after the second time, Ella proudly flew in, like a dive bomber, and landed on Steven's head.
He reached up and she jumped onto his hand, in a position she had been in for weeks before. Now ever since Ella was found we have pet her. Every time we pet Ella she would shutter, almost vibrate and hum, similar to a cat purring.
Steven had Ella on his hand and he pet her, without fail Ella shivered and hummed. By now Ella was almost fully grown. Her chest was red and her wings fully developed. Ella stayed for only one more night. the next day when she was let loose, she flew away.
For the past two springs we have looked for Ella, called her name but it wasn't until this past spring that we thought we saw her, An adult female red robin landed on the neighbor's shed roof, sat there and looked at us.
She sang and we called out to her "Ella", and with only a moment's hesitation the bird we through might be Ella, flew off to join the rest of the adults in the trees surrounding our home.
Just this afternoon we found another nestling, this time a starling baby. We left her outside to see if her mom will take care of her, if not, we will name her tomorrow.