My Friend, "Christopher" Robin
by Janet N.
(Bedminster, NJ Somerset)
I live in a ground-level condo, with a patio.
We are not allowed to feed birds due to the rodent problem that it would cause, but I have had multiple bird baths including 2 heated, for winter weather for years.
With the potted plants I have out there all summer, it is picturesque & secluded. I have attracted quite a "clientele" of birds that depend on them for a source of water - especially on a hot day or when we've had no rain for a spell.
I enjoy watching them, as much as they enjoy splashing around in those baths. It is because of watching all of this activity on my patio that I have some idea who my "regulars" are & I am, therefore, able to identify new visiting species of birds.
It was sometime in late March/early April that I first saw him. It was still quite cold in the northeast & we were still having frequent, long episodes of cold, raw, rainy days - so I was surprised when I saw him & felt sorry for his being here about a month too soon.
Never-the-less, there he was - hopping through the grass & bushes toward my patio, a worm or worms dangling from his beak.
As it was that day, & so many times after that, when I would see him, he was just in transit > cutting across my patio, on his way to accomplish an important mission.
Occasionally he would stop for a drink of water, less frequently a bath. I knew he was the male, because I had seen his mate once or twice, before she laid her eggs & she was decidedly pregnant.
One particular day I glanced out at the patio, as I always did when passing by the sliding doors, & I noticed this Robin sort of bobbing up & down, under a bush that was just off of my patio.
One of my large plant containers was in the way, so I could not see what was really happening. This continued for approx. 3min. & then the Robin left the area, but later returned & it started all over again!
By this time I decided that I HAD to go out to see what this Robin was doing. The next time he left the area I went out to look at the bush & then I knew, not only what it was, but that I had met this Robin the year before - over the same exact thing! I couldn't believe it!
Attached to the base of this bush was some extremely durable nylon twine that had been used to secure the branches of the bush prior to planting.
The twine was frayed but seemed to be imbedded into or growing out of the trunk of the bush & that was what the Robin was trying to pull off of the bush, without success.
I pulled on it & it would not budge for me either, so I cut it off at the tree base with shears & left the clippings there for the Robin.
Not too long after that I observed him running across my patio with a beak full of the twine, as if he were afraid of being hijacked before he reached his destination!
As soon as I saw what it was on the tree that the Robin wanted so badly for his nest, of course I remembered doing the same thing for a Robin the Spring prior to this one.
On another one of the bushes there had been much more twine & I had observed a Robin trying to pull it off, unsuccessfully, so I did the same thing then.
I am now convinced that Christopher as I began to call him, after we had other encounters on my patio & I had met one year prior & that he had returned to the familiar environs of my patio to build his nest for this year, not only for all of it's amenities but, because he remembered that twine!
From the direction Christopher was always traveling when he cut across my patio with worms in his beak, I had an approximate idea where the nest was & last week I located it in a tree outside of my kitchen window.
I have had the brief pleasure of watching Christopher's 3 "kids" being fed in the nest over several days last week &, before I knew they were that ready to go, they were all gone.
It was all so sudden - I didn't see them leave. I wish I had found the nest sooner so I could have enjoyed them longer.
I miss seeing Christopher around & I wonder if he'll come back next Spring. However, there's no more twine on the bushes &, without that connection, I don't know how I would know it is him. I wonder if Robins ever re-use their old nests?