I did not know this baby bird was a robin since it did not look like a robin I know. I told them I would try, if he eats, he will live. The bird was very weak and tiny. I soaked a small piece of 15 grains bread and put over his mouth, to my surprise, he opened his mouth like when his mother came back. I put it in and from that moment I became his mother. I call him "popper", the same nickname that I gave it to my middle son. I go out to dig earth worms for him and my Asian box turtle which I had since the 1970s. It was a mission and a nice break while unemployed for a few months.
I found a box and put the newspapers in first, then some dried leaves. He stayed in there most of the time. Two weeks later, he could jump out so I changed the box to a bigger, deeper box. A few days later, he jumped out as well. So I let him wander in my backyard in the daytime and put him in the box in my basement at night. One morning, when I went down to the basement, I found him outside and he had made a mess in my basement. I had to find a net to cover the box for the night.
The bird has been walking around in my backyard, looking for small bugs to eat like a little chick. One morning, I heard him screaming in my back yard. I rushed out to see what was going on. The next door cat Gromit was circling my bird. I chased off the cat, yelling "bad Gromit". I let the bird jump on my hand and talked to him. I noticed the cat Gromit was looking at us from the distance, when I looked at him, he turned away as if he was not interested. I called him, he did not turn around and look at me, instead got up still with head looking the other way, slowly walked away. Later I found in many times, he was hiding in bushes watching us. He was upset with me.
I started to worry about who would teach him how to fly. He was not flying, following me everywhere outside. He walked very fast, I almost stepped on him a few times. I have been feeding him earthworms that I dug; he just opened his mouth wide and made the baby cry "Aa Aa...". My husband would not admit it that he also attached to the popper. When he weeded in the garden, the bird would follow his hand, when he watered the garden, the bird would be overjoyed in the wet soil. He would find excuses to weed three times per day, but still complained to me that I needed to let the bird be on his own. It was 90 degrees for a few days, the popper was hot and he opened his mouth to cool down. I thought if I put a bowl of water he might be able to take a cold bath. I put him in, he stood in the water did not know what to do, so I use my fingers to play with the water and splashed a little. So he got it and started to bathe. My son took the Baby Robin Bath video.
Time flies, popper start to fly a little, but very low close to the ground. But one day Jonathan was going out, he got in the van ready to drive away. Popper could see him sitting in the van. All of the sudden, he flew towards the van, landed on his windshield. I ran over to get him down, telling him "No, No". I started to get worried if he followed us every time we drove out.
He did not like to go back into the box in the daytime anymore. He stayed in the yard waited for us, one day when I came back, he was not anywhere, he usually flew to us. I started to call popper, nothing. A few hours later, my neighbor on the other side told me there was a bird in his backyard near the bushes. He looked scared when I went over to get him. I did not know he flew over that far.
My son Richard was going back to school to study German. I gave him a haircut the night before after dinner. The bird was looking from the distance because of the noise from the haircutting. When I was done with the electronic haircutting tool and using a scissors to trim the back of his hair, the bird popper flew over my son popper's head. I was trying to shoo him away, but it was too late. He pooped on his head. Yes, my deck was covered with his poop and he was watching me use water to clean and puzzled why? He love to stand on my shoulder or head, but I always only allowed him to stand on my fingers just in case he pooped. It would fall on the ground instead of me. Still he pooped on me 3 times.
The bird became famous on our street, kids and adults are like, they came to feed the bird. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries...were great. He started to fly higher and higher, one day the cat Gromit walked over to me trying to tell me he had enough of the bird. The bird was behind me watching, his feathers on the neck still not fully covered his skin. I was trying to block the cat, his stared at the bird, very scaring looking. My popper suddenly flew up over him and landed on the roof of his shed, yes his shed. Gromit ran over to his side of the driveway, looking up really mean and scary. He was telling him, get out of my property. I will get you one of those day.
There was a thunderstorm on one Sunday. I did not see the bird so I assumed that he found a hiding place. Then I saw him running back and forth in my backyard near the holly brush, soaked. I opened the door, called popper, he flew towards me but crashed on the screen. I felt so sorry for the poor little thing. I picked him up and carried him through my kitchen to the front door since the front porch could shelter him, I put him into his box, he jumped out. He wanted to stand on my shoulder so I let him stand on my fingers. He shook three times and water splashed on me too, then he used his beak to comb his feathers as if he was complaining to me. His feathers were just about dry, a pickup truck drove down the street, my popper was scared and he flew to the backyard in the rain again. Soaked again and we started it all over again. I asked my son Joe to sit on the front porch reading and kept him company, he sat on his shoulder for awhile and pooped on him too. But he did not like the front porch because there are cars coming and going. At 4PM, I put him in the box covered without any lights in the basement. By 8 PM, I worried he might be hungry so I went down to see if he wanted to eat. The lights and basement really confused the little guy, he refused to eat and flew up high so I had to climb up to get him down. I ended up putting him back in the box again without eating. I got up really early the next morning, 5 is early for me, I took the box out and opened it up. The popper looked up a little bit, flew straight up and gone. I was ready to feed him some worms.
That night became very difficult, he did not want to stay in the box anymore and he did not want to go down to the basement. I tried to let him stay out later, but it is really getting dark. I am afraid that birds of prey could get him since his mother did not teach him how to protect himself out there. I put him in the box, he jumped out, the first time and the second time, then he flew away, far away. I called his name, popper, popper till my husband came out to get me. Leave the bird alone.
With worries, I woke up early every day to see him come back, he did. He came back in the daytime, still wanted me to feed him by opening his mouth like a baby. I cut up fruits, he wanted me to feed him. I told him to pick it up by himself. So he will put his mouth next to the fruit opening his mouth "Aa Aa". Since nothing happened then he gently picked it up. I also tried to show him how to find earthworms by bury the worms in the compost next to the grapevine, he learned very fast and loved this. Only I could not leave the jar outside over night, it would be empty overnight. All the worms would be gone and the jar would be upside down. I did not know who was eating my worms at night. I had to remember to take the earthworm jar inside.
I had to go back to work so I tried to find him a safe place to return, away from other birds and the cat. Finally I found a perfect spot, right above my back door where there is a triangle roof. I used a hand saw to cut two pieces of wood leftover from my hardwood floor, and slid them between the roof right above the door. I showed him the food there and he learned fast. After that he flew there directly, got the fruit and looked at me for a minute, flew away to the neighbor's fences far away from my reach, I called him back. He just looked at me for a minute or two then flew away.
Before I went to work in the morning, I would put the fruits out. When I came back, I saw the food was all gone, sometimes the dish dropped down by the door empty. I was not sure whether the wind blew it down or he kicked it down. He came back almost everyday in the morning or evening for about 5 minutes and I did not know when. Talk about a fast teenager. I understood now when the parents said to their kids when they do not listen. 翅膀长硬了, 远走高飞 means wings are big and strong now, fly high and faraway. Very True! I ended up calling popper, popper, hoping he is coming back.
Not sure when the cat Gromit started to come to me whenever I called popper, I did not pay much attention till one day, my popper was sitting on the neighbor's fence in front and above me while I was sitting on my back deck calling him to come closer to me, within my reach. He was just sitting there, not responding my calls. Then I noticed Gromit slowly walking towards me from my right, then sitting down facing me and staring at me. Now the bird was sitting on the fence facing away from me. I turned my head right and looked at Gromit, said I did not call you, why are you coming. Go away so my bird could come down. He just sat there, looking at me as if telling me to forget about the bird, I am here everyday within your reach like the good old days. Three of us formed a perfect triangle. I called Jonathan out to take Gromit away. My neighbor must have heard me, he walked out of his house. Ordered Gromit, come back home. What are you doing there. He said.
|Popper sitting on the high fence|
|I was calling him down|
|My neighbor was yelling at Gromit|
|Last photo I had with my Baby Robin|
It has been three days without the sights of popper, the chopped cherries were molded already. He did not come back for chopped cherries. I started to get worried, did Gromit get him or some other predator? I went out walking around the neighborhood after dinner, on the way back, two blocks from my house. I saw a robin very similar to my popper on the sidewalk right in front of me. I walked over and called his name, he flew to the dead tree nearby but sat on a branch, I looked up calling him, he turn his head sideways, looked down for a minute or two, then he flew away. I think it was my popper. I take a walk every evening after dinner, on the same street, two blocks away from my house. One, two robins, sometime more I saw, I could not tell who was my robin. The dead tree two blocks away from my house became our meeting place after dinner. I always see this robin on the way back. He just sits on a branch up there on this dead tree, I could only see him on this dead tree since there are no leaves. I stand down on the sidewalk, sometimes for 15 min. I have to be the one give up walking away. I could only wish my popper is among them. It has to be, because he waits there almost everyday after I make a circle around my neighborhood. Last few days he has been there waiting for me by himself without any of his friends. I wish he comes back to my backyard. But I also wish he stays with his friends because Fall is coming and he needs to fly south soon with his friends.
|The dead tree two blocks away from my home is the meeting place for me and my bird, away from Gromit. A lot of time I see him on the way back from my walk as if he could see me walking around |
I go out for a walk after lunch at my work, a few miles away from my home. Every time I see robins, I think one of them is my baby robin and I do not know which one. Every now and then, there was only one robin that got my attention by flying right in front of me or making familiar calls. When I followed the robin, the robin would jump to a lower branch of the tree from the ground or keep some distance from me but not fly away. I called him "popper, are you my popper"? He turned his head and looked at me, still not moving, and after some time, he sang familiar songs as if he was very happy to see me. After 5 or 10 minutes he did not fly away, but I had to go back to my office. Always I was the one who walked away from him. I asked him to go find his friends. No one in my office or home believed the robin was mine, I was not sure.
After Christmas, the weather has been very cold, especially at night, I wished my robin had flown south with his friends. But one morning, when I opened the back door, I saw a robin eating the holly berries in my backyard. The first thing in my mind was that the holly berries are poisonous; it must be my robin whose mother (me) did not teach him that the holly berry is poisonous and teach him to fly south for the winter. The only thing I could do was to cut some apple pieces, put them outside, then go to work. When I got to my office, the first thing I did was Google "robin eats holly berry". It turns out that when the robin starts eating holly berries, most of the good stuff has already been eaten. Holly berries are the leftovers. When I came back after work, I noticed the robin did not eat my apple pieces. I realized that I did not teach my robin to eat apples, only strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and pomegranates.
I bought two pomegranates on Saturday just in case. On Sunday, we were going into the car to go to church, here is the robin again right near the car. I went over to say hi, he jumped on a small tree's lower branch. Again, I called "popper, are you my popper?' He just sat there, but I had to go to church. After church, the robin was still around, so I prepared some pomegranate berries. I put them into a big bowl where he used to take a bath, and spread them out so they were not going to freeze together. The robin was sitting in the holly bush, so I let the bowl sit on the branches, hoping he would eat them. He just looked, not eating them. After lunch, we went out for a walk. On the way back, we saw the robin fighting with a mockingbird on our driveway. I chased off the mockingbird, and the robin stayed around and we took some pictures, I like this one sitting in the holly bush the best.
It was getting dark, the robin was still around, I went to the shed and took out a box to show the robin. "popper, you want to come back in?" it is so cold at night, below zero. He watched me from the branches, then sang really loud for a minute or two, flew straight up high and away.
The next morning, I went to work. Around 9 am, Bob in my office told me there was a robin sitting on the tree next to my car. I went out calling "popper, is that you?" He just sat there, I asked him if he wanted to eat apple pieces, the only fruit I had with me. I went back to cut some apple pieces, went out again and put them on the ground asking him to come down and eat. He looked at me for a moment, then flew away.
My poor robin in the holly brushes in my backyard. He greeted me in the morning and afternoon by jumping up and down. I put some pomegranates in a bowl and put it on the snow inside of the brush. He ate them finally, for the first time since he does not coming back landed on my hands. The storm winds howling at more than 70 mph, the Blizzard slammed New England.
Boston breaking snowfall records, the snowiest winter ever, 89.2 inches so far, my backyard.
My poor robin watching us shoveling snow. I feed him fresh grapes and dry cranberries.
Cold as it is this winter, my robin was living peacefully with many sparrows in a holly bush. I put out chopped grapes for the Robin and seeds for sparrows. Last weekend, a northern mockingbird came along and kicked out my robin from the holly brush on Saturday. On Sunday, my poor robin ended up sitting on the branch of the chokecherry tree next to the driveway. Unlike the holly tree, the chokecherry lost all of its leaves for the winter and it was windy.
I climbed on the tree to try to reach him. He kept a yard away from me but was the closest to me since he was independent.
I was worrying about the robin so I put out two baskets on the tree one for food and one for the night. I also took out a cardboard box to see if he wanted to get in like when he was a baby bird. He jumped in the basket for food, but did not get into the other basket or the box. It was snowing lightly and he just sat there for the most of the day on Sunday. By 4:30 pm, it was getting dark, I went out again to see if he wanted to get into the box so I could take him down to the basement where is warm. He looked at me for a moment, then sang a loud goodbye and flew away.
On Monday morning, the mockingbird was sitting on the chokecherry tree as if he just claimed the new territory. My robin was sitting on the tree across the street, far away from the food. So I was trying to tell mockingbird to get out, but he was not afraid of me. Just sat there. I called my robin to come to eat, the mockingbird flew towards my robin and they started another fight. In the end, it was my robin that gave up and flew away again.
I looked up information about the mockingbird and found that their winter diet is very similar. The male mockingbirds arrives before the beginning of the season, establishing their territories to attract the females to their sites, even attacking a Red-shouldered Hawk. I was not sure if my robin has any chance. I put food out on my front porch and backyard every morning, when I came back after work, the food is gone. I wish it was my robin or my robin had some of the food. On Wednesday morning, as usual, the mockingbird was sitting on the chokecherry tree guarding his territory. To my surprise when I went back to the backyard, my robin jumped out of the holly bush greeting me "good morning". I was overjoyed. "ha ha, mockingbird, stay in the front.
I thought the mockingbird was bad, then I saw a hawk sitting on the neighbor's maple tree. All the birds were in hiding, I could hear my robin's calls near me but I could not tell where. So I hoped that he knew not to come out, I was trying to shoo the the hawk with a snow ball, but it was too high to reach and did not even get the attention from the hawk, he just sat there. I started to jump up and down and bark like a dog, "woof, woof..". He looked down at me wondering what I was doing, was not scared, he sat there. I kept jumping and barking, after a while, not sure if he was tried of me or did not see any birds, he flew away. After another 5 minutes or so, my robin flew across my driveway back into the holly bush. I wondered how the birds knew the hawk flew away?Last weekend, the robin was around. I was talking to him while he sat on the tree branch. All of sudden, the mockingbird from behind me flew towards the robin fast like the speed of light. The only thing I could see was my robin escaping right before impact. Ha, I was furious with the mockingbird, why won't he leave my robin alone? or get along like the rest of the sparrows? He is determined to kick my robin out of my backyard and front yard. I put out of plenty of food for all of them.
Although the snow is melting, last night was cold. This morning, I went out as usual to put food out in the front and back yard. I called my robin as usual but did not expect a reply since I saw him with his friends yesterday. He jumped out from the holly bush with other sparrows. At work around 4:30PM, I saw a bird fly in a circle by the window, I got up "it's my popper!" I went outside looking for him, but I did not see anything. So I called "popper, popper." He flew over to me and sat on the branches of the tree next to my car. He was jumping with his tail swinging up and down and also singing really loud. I was jumping on the ground calling him "popper, popper." This lasted about a minute or two, then he flew away. What a surprise!
My robin shares the fence and holly bush with sparrows until the mocking bird comes along.
After kicking my robin out, the mockingbird is in the backyard eating the chopped grapes.
My robin stays in the front yard where I put out more chopped grapes.
The mocking bird cannot stand having my robin around, so he keeps kicking my robin out. A lot of times, I see the mocking bird chasing my robin in the sky. My robin never gives up; he keeps coming back. They fought all winter long. Now, the snow is melting and Spring is here. Today was the first time I saw my robin bring a friend home. I used to see another robin with him/her, but the other robin never landed. My robin landed in the holly bush and the other robin stood on the roof of the shed, where he kept a distance from the holly bush where I feed my robin with fruits.
Spring is here. My robin brought a friend home, but this robin is not willing to get into the holly bush. Only my robin went in to get the chopped grapes in the basket.
Two days ago, I came back from work. I saw Gromit out for the first time since the long winter, so I stopped and rolled down my window calling him "Gromit, Gromit...". He looked at me for a moment and walked back to the front door of his house. I parked and walked to my backyard, calling "popper, popper," checking if there were still chopped grapes left over. I was shocked to see feathers all over and some in the grape dish.Oh no, my robin! Who ate my robin? The Gromit or the hawk? Oh no, it was my fault to feed the bird here. Now it was too late. My robin was gone. I was so sad that I just froze there with tears in my eyes. The dish was too close to the holly bush, maybe Gromit or the hawk were hiding there when my robin came to eat. I should have put the dish higher, not on the ground. But it was too late. I took away the dish.
Today, I saw the pair of robins at my work again early in the morning. The female robin was digging as usual, but he was looking at me as if to try to tell me "what are you doing inside that building? Stay with us, there are plenty of earth worms out here!" After lunch, I went out for my walking loop. This time, the pair was ahead of me three times and three times I talked to them, making a circle that ended at the church lawn.
I know for sure the robin in my backyard is my robin. Now I really think the robin follows me to my work too. Sometimes, I can see a robin flying across the street over my windshield when I was driving. When I arrived to my backyard, I called "popper, popper" and he flew over, while I saw his friend stay in the front yard.
Spring flowers are blooming. My robin and his mate started to build a nest on the gutter below the neighbor's roof in the backyard. I saw my robin with a tissue in his/her mouth try to put on the nest, but the wind kept blowing it away. I am not sure if he got this idea from me, because I used tissue or paper towel for my robin when he was baby in the box.
I was sitting in the backyard and my robin came back for chopped grapes. The mockingbird kicks my robin out, my robin kicks the starling out, and the starling kicks the mockingbird out. They are all fighting over my grapes. Now Gromit came over to claim his territory too.
Time flies, it was Memorial Day weekend. No sports were going on and the field was empty and quiet. I went to pick up my son at the high school and I saw a robin on the soccer field as if he knew me and I watched him for a while before I entered the building. When I came out with my son, a red-tailed hawk was standing on the top of the light pole where there was a small platform, picking and eating something. A dozen small black birds came flying around him trying to get a bite while the hawk shook his wings to scare them away. I was terrified thinking it might be my robin, but could not do anything. He took his time finishing the meal and then he flew to the parking lot on our right picking on a black thing. I thought it was a starling, but when I walked over I found it was a dried up banana peel. I was less than 3 feet away from him. The hawk was not afraid of me, now he looked like a red-tailed chicken except with a strong beak and claws. He looked at me as if he was telling me, "what are you following me for? Mind your own business and leave me alone". I stood there for a minute not sure what to do. Then, I started walking towards him slowly. He walked away slowly for a while and then very unwillingly and slowly, he jumped up to the lowest branch of a tree. He looked at me again as if to say, "what is your problem, lady? Why are you following me? I am just doing my business here.Go home." Now my son called me to get into the car. I asked him if he took some pictures? He said he forgot his phone at home. When we pulled into our driveway at home, a pair of robins flew across the street into our backyard as they usually do, waiting for my chopped grapes.
Red-tailed hawkAnother month went by, now it was June. I saw the mother robin use her beak to pick 3 or 4 pieces of grapes, but did not swallow them. She flew up to the maple tree in my neighbor's backyard with a long singing. I was wondering how could she sing like that with a mouth full. Then, I followed her movement looking up and I saw two baby robins flapping their wings and opening their months for chopped grapes. I was trying to take a picture, but it did not come out so clear since it was after dinner and already dark. She came up and down for 3-4 trips every evening. Later, I found out she had three baby robins.
Both parents are still feeding the babies. The babies are flapping their wings to get their parents' attentions.
There were 4 starlings who also came down to eat my chopped grapes, but when the male robin was around, he chased them away. But if the mother robin came alone, she was the one had to wait for the 4 starlings. Those starlings are always hungry and in a hurry. They empty the whole thing so quickly as if they were never there. My robin on the other hand takes his time, walking around and looking around before eating and then taking pieces to fly to his babies. Now I am sure that my robin is a male. He is bigger and more comfortable with me. The mother robin is now much better compared with the spring, but she still does not like to come too close to me. She also takes a few trips back and forth and never taking the food for herself.
It has been two weeks since my robin took his family home. I do not see the babies anymore, he comes back everyday, sometimes another adult robin too. I assume it is the mother robin. I can tell my robin is fatter than the others since he comes back to eat the grapes every day. He also sings beautiful songs while sitting on the fence. I just need to call "popper, popper", then he comes.
My popper comes back every day when I am home.
I had not seen the mockingbird for a long time, but then two nights ago in the middle of the night, we heard his songs. He sang and sang different songs and he would not stop singing until 3 AM. The next night around midnight, again he started to sing and did not stop until early morning. When Anthony went out to put the trash out, he saw the mockingbird on the wire, now mimicking a car alarm. He must have been thinking that Anthony was going to try to steal a car, since it was around 5 AM. We are getting tired of his singing, since we do not sleep well when he makes noise. In the morning, my neighbor came out and talked to me about the bird, since he thought it was my robin. They did not sleep well either. They tried to close the window, but the bird was still right outside on the tree next to their window. He was ready to kill the bird! The third night, the mockingbird was again out there singing and I even yelled out of the window to ask him to stop. It didn't do anything, so at about 1:30 AM, Anthony went out, ready to use a water hose to chase him away. I came down and wanted to go out, but the bird had stopped singing. Anthony came back and made a nice bow to me. He said that he did not hurt the bird, he just shook the tree and the mockingbird stopped singing, probably out of fear.
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