Tuesday, June 24, 2008


On Sunday morning, as we were getting into the car to go to church, I heard a loud racket from some robins in the back yard.  I looked up just in time to see several robins mobbing a crow.  The corvid swooped into a tree and the smaller birds swooped and pecked at it.  I couldn't stay to watch the whole scene unfold, and I don't know what the crow did to provoke such a reaction.

When we came back in the early afternoon, I noticed something moving on the ground near the back fence.  A quick look with the binoculars didn't reaveal anything, so I went out for a look.  I found a robin on the ground, feathers ruffled, eyes darting.  I squatted down to observe it.  I had interrupted its snack of a salmonberry, which lay partly pecked apart on the grass.It was so odd to see a robin just sitting there, almost as if on a nest, but I couldn't see anything in particular wrong with it.

After a few moments, Gabriel noticed what I was doing, and came out to investigate.  He squatted down next to me, and was able to stay quiet and keep his movements slow.  He was in wonder about the little bird in front of us.  He wanted to scoop it up and put it in a box and take care of it until it healed.  It was difficult for me to explain to him that we would not be able to do that for a wild bird, that we didn't know how to take care of it and couldn't fix whatever was wrong.  Secretly I wanted to take care of it, too.

Gabriel wanted to go in and get my binoculars and his little bird book.  He said, "I'm an expert bird-watcher, because I have a bird book!"  He left and then came quickly back, quietly sitting down beside me again.  Then Aaron noticed we were out there, and came to see what we were looking at.  Annika joined us as well.  She caught on to our quiet demeanor, and copied the way we were sitting, looking at the poor bird.  I guess four were too many observers, and the robin got a burst of energy and flew up to land on the fence.

Once the bird was on the fence, we could see its disability: one leg was hanging down, useless.  The bird sat on the fence for a few moments, then flew up to the gutter on the shop.  We kept watching it, but then I decided to go in the house.  A few minutes later, the robin flew down to land on a post by the wood pile.  Gabriel was still observing our little injured friend.  He sat down in the grass again, and kept watch after all the other family members left.  It amazed me how focused he was, and how quiet and alert.  He is so in tune with the natural world, and has a sensitivity that warms my heart. 

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