A couple days ago I was milling around the house when I heard a ruckus in the backyard. The kind of ruckus that sends shivers up the spine. It was the frantic and panic-filled cries of my robins, the ones that built a nest in my apple tree. And rising from the middle of the shrill alarm calls was the high pitched cry of a baby bird.
I don't watch nature shows because I can't stand the killing. I know it is part of the cycle of life blah blah blah but it bothers the hell out of me. I know the predator must eat. But god does it have to be so violent? And now in digital?
I raced to the backyard, hoping to interrupt what I knew would be a National Geographic moment. But I was too late. Bursting from the tree branch which held the beautiful mud-lined robin nest flew Crow. In its talons was a baby robin, wings flapping wildly, little voice calling for help in high pitched notes. The parents made a valiant attempt to rescue their baby, but Crow flew off into the trees with a pair of fluffy little black wings flapping frantically in its clutches. I should have stayed indoors.
Mama Robin perched herself on the telephone line that hangs a few feet south of her nest. I walked up to her, and in the softest voice I could muster, told her how sorry I was she lost her baby. She had a look of disorientation in her eye, not the peaceful, secure, strong gaze of Robin. She was grieving. I stayed with her for several minutes, assuring her I would keep the beagle in the backyard more often and that I would keep the hose on alert for the next time Crow decided to come dining.
Later that evening, I heard the chirping of baby birds and watched as Mama Robin fed her two remaining offspring. Their enormous mouths, which emerged from small fuzzy heads, bobbed up and down above the stick edges of the nest. I searched the trees for Crow, hose in hand and beagle on patrol. Bellies full, the little birds snuggled in for a bird nap.
I slept better that night knowing my birds were safe. But geez it is hard to be Godmother to a nest full of baby robins in a world full of Crows.