The largest one, D, passed over during recent feedings,
hops out of the nest and totters across the down spout,
out and back, out and back, hopping back into the nest.
The smaller fledgeling, E, remains. Still, except for accepting
food from Harmony, who returned this year
to our backyard paradise: trees, garden, worms, mate.
His partner, absent now, nesting the next clutch, their season’s third.
Harmony, an albino, garners all our attention, the only robin discernible
among all robins. My mate, who has never loved birds nor nests,
suddenly fascinated by fascinations that had never garnered his attention,
places a movie camera to capture the fledgeling’s first flight, holds
binoculars to his eyes and gesticulates like a young boy, his joy bright.
Any minute now! he exclaims over and over. He is vigilant all afternoon.
Harmony swoops in to feed, keeping further away from the nest
each trip so that D has to reach further out to feed. A very good strategy.
Then he flies out to a low swinging wire in sight of D. E remains nestside.
D balances out the distance of the downspout one last time, then lifts up
and out, into the lawn below. Harmony flies close, guiding
D to the shrubs and trees at the edge of our lawn, where D hop-flies
into the lower branches. E hasn’t stepped out of the nest yet
and we are due to visit grandchildren, so Mr. Man leaves the camera
on for the last 26 minutes filming, this his thrid hour, and we leave.
Upon our return, Mr. Man checks, and E actually fledged 10 minutes after we left.
Caught on film. Only one trip out the downspout before lifting off. O good,
he says to me, Harmony can tend them easier with both
in the same trees, even though the camera lens couldn’t catch that.
But I catch the excitement and relief in my mate’s voice.