The nest is not in the most serene location for Mama Robin. We walk past it between our house and garage, sending Mama Robin flying to safety and squawking with concern for the babies she leaves in the nest.
I'm thinking a lot about Mama Robin, her babies, and the various truths their presence helps me to remember. Truths like:
- Mama birds feed their babies. They find the food and make it digestible to these newborns. The behavior is encoded in Mama's DNA. She is driven to keep them alive through food. This reminds me of my intense, visceral need for my kids to eat breakfast before school. (Seriously, the morning dilly-dallying is crazy-making.)
- Mama birds take care of themselves first, so they may care for their babies. When one of us gets too close to the nest, Mama Robin flies to the fence, a tree, or the roof of our neighbor's garage. She knows we're not likely to hurt the babies, and she flees so she may stay safe enough to be there for her babies later. She'll protect her babies with force, if necessary, though. The other day, Mama Robin pecked at one of the neighbor's kids when he stayed too close to the nest. This care for yourself so you may care for others is a truth I often forget.
- Mama birds experience loss, including the loss of a potential life. Mama Robin's fourth egg didn't hatch, and it won't. That is a loss faced by a lot of human mamas, too. My own third pregnancy ended with an early miscarriage. I've got my three baby birds, though, to feed and protect and teach to fly.
These are not the truths my kids are learning from Mama Robin and her babies. That will come with time and experience. Prima, Seconda, and Terza had these thoughts, instead:
- Baby birds grow faster than you would expect.
- Their eyelids are a different color than their bodies, which are hairy instead of feathery. That's kind of weird.
- It's best to walk past the nest quietly so as not to disturb Mama Robin.
- Baby birds can be really ugly and really cute.
- When the Mama Robin is perched on the fence, chirping loudly, she's probably calling the Daddy Robin in for dinner.
So there you have it, the truth about Mama Birds and Baby Birds.