So it’s come to this. After (what is it, six, seven?) weeks of being mostly at home, I’ve started yelling at birds. Well, one bird, anyway.
It’s a robin that has built a nest right outside one of our bathroom windows. I’m sure many of you have a nest somewhere on or around your home. We were in a rental house last year, and a pair of robins built a nest in a wreath on our front door, right next to a fake nest on the wreath. I’m not sure if that means birds would rather rely own their own crafting skills or they don’t know when someone’s done the work for them. It’s probably the former, although I tend to sometimes undervalue the intellect of animals that are constantly slamming into windows.
Anyway, no matter how used to that nest I became, I would still forget it was there — which perhaps turns the intelligence argument on its head. When I walked toward the front door, mama robin would shoot out and pull up just above my forehead, nearly giving me a coronary, then natter at me while perched on a nearby railing.
I’ve heard that, during this time of canceled events and quarantines, some people have been watching bird feeders as if it were a professional sport. I get that. I’ve certainly taken more interest in what birds are doing, but I’ve had little choice. We have several nests around our yard, and have found robin eggs pillaged by squirrels or blue jays everywhere. And every time any of us goes into the master bath, Mrs. Robin, as we’ve creatively named her, darts off like a shot to a maple tree mere feet away from the window, and scolds us for threatening the nest.
We had the same situation after moving from the rental house last year to our current home, when a different Mrs. Robin minded a different nest in a different bathroom window. I’m starting to think robins in this neighborhood might be a bit pervy.
Mrs. Robin 2020 also gets angry when we try to go to sleep, giving those sharp, brief chirps of warning. It’s kind of like having a noisy neighbor who always goes straight to 10 on the overreaction scale.
“OK, we get it!” I actually blurted in a sort of fake yell one night. “Yeah, yeah, we’re sorry. But people are trying to sleep!” It made my wife laugh, which I’ll take.
Of course, it’s about to get worse. Mrs. Robin incubates the eggs by herself. Once they hatch, both she and her mate will be feeding the young’uns and guarding the nest. Mr. Robin is going to hate us. I know from experience.
For all the antagonism, we actually like having nests we can see. It’s pretty fascinating to watch the chicks hatch and grow. Our son loves it. It’s a shame we can’t communicate. I’d love to tell Mrs. Robin “Hey, you’re cool. We’re not going to do anything. Stay put, make yourself comfortable. Worry about the squirrels. We’d be happy to babysit if you and Mr. Robin need a night out. Oh, and if you could stop watching us bathe, we’d appreciate it.”
Alas, such a conversation is impossible. Which makes it doubly weird that I found myself nearly shouting back at her the other night. I guess we’re all a little crazy right now.