Saturday, July 9, 2011

one lone baby bird

one lone baby bird
in a nest where there were once
three blue robin's eggs

Every time I've passed the apple tree, the mother robin has been sitting on her nest, perfectly filling the round opening like a domed lid on a tea cup. The gray and black feathers on her back and wings and head blend in with the branches of the tree and the grasses and mud of the nest. Only her rust-orange breast peeping above the rim of the nest signals her presence, but to most observers she would be invisible. Yesterday she was perched on the rim of the nest and I saw an open beak poking up out of the nest. As soon as she saw me she flew away, clucking her displeasure. From telephoto distance I dared a quick peak at the baby birds that must have recently hatched from the three blue eggs I had seen a week ago. But all I saw was one fuzzy baby, curled up, eyes closed. No egg shells, but the mother robin would have carried off the fragments. What happened to the other two eggs? Snakes, squirrels, mice, cats, blue jays and crows all eat bird eggs. Predators usually eat all the eggs, so this nestling was lucky to survive. I hope I didn't advertise the presence of the nest to jays or crows, because they are highly intelligent and by watching the nest I may have inadvertently led them to their next meal. This one lone nestling will not have to compete with nest mates for food, so at least it has a better chance of surviving long enough to take flight.

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