This is the third year a robin has built a nest over the utility meter next to my garage door. Twice windstorms blew a nest down from that very spot, the second time with eggs in it. But undaunted, Ms Robin has returned again this year — I have a hunch she’s the same robin — and we’ve managed to work out what seems to be a successful arrangement.
I discovered her nest by accident — when I heard a flap of wings as I opened the garage door, looked up and spotted tell-tale strands of grass dangling from just above the meter. I apologized for disturbing her and promised to try to be careful.
Now, I approach the garage speaking softly. “Good morning, Ms Robin, it’s me. No need to worry. Everything’s fine.” It’s been a couple of weeks and now she knows my voice — sometimes just my footsteps as I walk out to get the morning paper. With hardly a sound, she flutters from her nest to the birch tree nearby and turns her head with with a chirp, watching me only an arm’s length away.
“Sorry to bother you,” I say, after putting trash into the bin. “I’m done now,” I inform her, once I’ve found the garden trowel I needed. She then hops back to the spot she’s claimed as hers.
One morning, glancing up out of habit, I saw her peering over the edge of the nest and looked straight into her dark, unblinking eye without really intending to. My stare was an invasion she obviously found uncomfortable. Though I’m curious how she’s doing and concerned about her welfare, I now remember to lower my gaze, respecting her timidity, her privacy as I approach her nest. She seems to be a single mom. Although I occasionally see male robins in my garden, I’ve not see one pop by the nest to inquire about her welfare, bring a snack or simply pay his respects. Am I over-identifying here?
I’ve no idea how long robins eggs take to hatch, if she’ll let me know when they do or if I’ll even have a chance to see the little ones she’s been so carefully tending. It doesn’t really matter. What’s important to me is that we’ve built this tender, fragile relationship, however long it lasts.