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Thursday, 26 July 2007

For the Birds, Part 2 - Rockin' Robin

The summer that I was ten, we found a baby robin. It was sitting under one of our trees, and it had a broken beak and an injured wing. When we found it, mom called the vet to see what to do. He advised us not to touch it, because we didn't know if it had been abandoned or not, and if it wasn't it definitely would be once it had human scent on it.

The mother did not come back for the baby. The vet advised us to put on a pair of gloves and lift the baby back into the nest. A few hours later, it was sitting on the ground again. It was definitely abandoned.

After another call to the vet, we adopted it. We set him up in a big cardboard box with an old towel, and put a lamp by him for heat. He also had a little water dish. I say he, but that was just what we assumed, it quite easily could have been a female. He was christened Rockin' Robin after the children's song. You know, "Rockin' Robin, tweet, tweet, tweedily deet"? That one.

Rockin' Robin was always hungry. Fortunately, we hadn't planted a pumpkin patch that year, so that garden was empty. We would go down three or four times a day and dig through the whole thing looking for worms. We had to cut them up into bite-sized pieces and feed them to him. Luckily, he was growing fast, and soon we could just put the whole worms in with him and he would eat them. Also as he grew older, we found out that cherries were a recommended food for captive robins. The amount of time spent looking for worms was greatly reduced.

Once his injuries had healed, we started taking Rockin' Robin's box outside with us when we were out. He soon started hopping out of his box and exploring the yard a bit. Once he learned to fly, he would go sit in the maple tree, but he would still come back to us at night. One day, of course, he didn't come back.

But that is the way of children, is it not? Eventually they grow up and move on.

We always liked to think he was one of the many adult robins that showed up in our area next spring. Children do come back to visit, after all.

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