May 9, 2012

Babies and Birds

Last summer we got back from a weekend away to find piles of mud on our back porch. We quickly realized that it was spill over from a robin's nest that had been freshly constructed on one of the beams. I was amazed by the nest, so beautifully woven and the whole inside carefully coated in a thin layer of mud. Truthfully it wasn't all that convenient to have a robin family move in right by the back door. I thought about relocating the nest before any eggs were laid, but by the time I finally got serious about it I found two gorgeous blue eggs perfectly placed inside. These robins were going to be our guests for the summer.

We had to stop using the porch and keep the cat away. We watched everyday from our office window, heard the tiny cheeps when the birds were born, saw their prehistoric little heads bob for food and get fluffier by the day. We were lucky enough to see each bird leave the nest, hang out on the porch for a day or so, and then finally hop down to the grass below.

I'd certainly witnessed many baby birds hatch before, but this was the first time since having my own child and it made the whole experience feel miraculous and precious.

For the last several days my mind keeps returning to those birds. My cousin has been struggling through labor with her first child. She is my dearest friend and certainly like a sister. It isn't my story to tell, so I will just say that she is perfectly healthy as is the baby and she is doing an amazing job... but as with nearly every birth story, it isn't exactly as she'd hoped or planned.  

She lives in Chicago and it's hard to be far from someone you love when they're in the throes of something so painful, beautiful, and life changing. Possibly because motherhood has been such a completely transformative experience for me, or maybe just because I love her very much and can't wait to be an aunt, I'm completely consumed and can't think about anything else.

So I'm waiting, very distracted and reflecting on my own labor as well. Today I kept watching a robin hop around on our garage roof and perch on the branches of the maple tree. Most likely it's several different birds and not just one, but in my imagination it's our robin. She's ready and searching for where to build her new nest for this summer.

*updated: she's here! 8lbs 5oz healthy baby girl and we're still waiting on the name...


  1. Oh my goodness, those sweet little robins! How special to have a bird family nesting so close to your own. We have doves that like to build their nests (which are pretty flimsy compared to the robin's) in the jasmine right over our front door. I've been startled many a time by the sudden rush of wings and branches when stepping outside - I should get used to it by now!

    I'm so glad your cousin and her baby girl are doing okay - big sigh of relief for you.


  2. gorgeous pictures! these are just amazing. also a lovely post in general- so glad your cousin and her baby are well.

  3. Congrats on the little addition to the family!!

    Robins are one of my favorite birds ~ I volunteered a few summers ago at a wildlife rehabilitation center and was impressed by the kindness of the baby robins compared to the other baby birds. They were intelligent, sweet, patient, and cheeky. It's so fun that you had a nest to watch just outside your door. Perhaps they'll choose it again this year. :)

  4. What a beautiful post! I love the shots of the babies as they grow! Amazing. And congrats on becoming an aunt!

  5. Thanks for saying hi on the blog. I love it when I have faces to put with the stats. I love it even better when I find a lovely blogger. I am glad that your cousin had her baby and is doing well. Robins here are different to the ones in Ireland which are a lot smaller. I would love to have a nest to watch.

  6. the image of the babies with their mouths wide open is stunning! amazing!

  7. Aww, that's so precious! We have a little bird house on the garage and each year a new family movies in-sometimes two families if the babies fly quick enough. I love seeing their little heads pop out and sing!

  8. what a magic thing to experience, this spring (with the symbol of spring itself - the robin!) and you're right, the construction on the nest is so incredible. Beautifully undone. A cycle like this always seems kind of miraculous to me.