When we go on nature walks, we like to “spy on nature”. Which means we are quiet. We are listening, and looking. This spring we had the precious opportunity to “spy” on a family of robins, right from our window. We have a curly willow, who has a name– Curly Sue– that is just feet from the window in our stairway going to our upstairs. We watched from the very beginning to the very end. From the nest being built, to one family started and then perishing, to a second family starting and fledging. And It. Was. Amazing! I sat on the landing of our stairs for countless hours and took hundreds of photos every day. When Curly Sue would get to full, I would take the screen out of the window and trim her from inside, so that we could have a perfect view of this nest. I was obsessed. Honest to goodness, I lost many followers on IG over this. I OverGramed. I know this. But I don’t even care. We learned so much, and we truly loved these birds.
The first momma laid her eggs. I climbed the tree daily to take photos of the nest when she would leave. We literally watched her laying her eggs! From our window! And then she would fly off and I would climb the tree, take a photo and run back inside so she could come back. We saw one egg at a time being laid. It was still cold in May in IL, and we worried that the the little family wouldn’t make it many nights because of the cold. One night I saw the mama turning her eggs, and I took a photo. By this time I knew almost as a second nature when she would be gone and how long to expect her to be gone. I had watched her so much, I just knew what to expect. I walked past the window and she was gone. The next time I walked past the window she was still gone and my tummy flip flopped. 30 minutes later she was still gone. I knew something happened to her. An hour or so later the daddy robin was calling for her. He was looking for her. He called for hours frantically! She never came back.The next morning I climbed the tree to take a photo of inside of the nest and sure enough, 2 out of the 3 eggs were gone, and mama still had not returned. We decided to bring the 3rd egg inside to study it. I knew there was nothing that we could do to save it. We saw the tiny baby formed inside. As sad as it was to have our robin family gone, it was amazing to see God creation in it’s first stages.
I was devastated for a few days over not being able to see this family grow and eventually fledge from our Curly Sue. My kids recovered 😉 About a week later, I was still walking by the window and looking at that empty nest. Just torturing myself. It was ridiculous, really. I didn’t realize how accustomed I had become to watching the mama. One morning, as I headed downstairs after waking up, I got to the window and went to open the curtains to look out. I said to myself, “when are you going to stop this?! She isn’t there!” I ignored myself, and opened the curtains anyway. There was a robin in the nest!! Let me say this again.. there was a robin. In the nest. I ran downstairs, scared my kids and my husband because I was in hysterics over this bird.
We had a new mama! It wasn’t the same one. I had watched the first one so much, I knew her. And this was not her. This mama was nervous. She didn’t like us watching her. She spooked easily, and she just looked different. It was a new mama robin. And so it started all over again. The tree climbing, the hours of watching, the hundreds of photos EVERY DAY. Hundreds, every day. She laid 3 eggs. I took photos of them being laid. I took photos of them hatching. I took photos of them growing and eating. And on my 41st birthday, I climbed Curly Sue and took a photo of the babies as the fledged. Well~ I sort of scared them out of the nest. But they flew away! And they lived in our yard for about 3 weeks or so, while the mama and daddy hopped around feeding them.
You can ask me ANYthing about robins. I know the answer. From watching so closely, I had developed an instinct and knew when the mama flew away exactly how long it would be till she or the daddy came back with food. I could tell which one would be fed and which one would poop. I showed off my new found skills to my husband and his friend. They were either impressed or scared. I couldn’t tell. But their eyes did get big. My kids loved watching them grow and would call out to me “mom!! awww!! come see what they are doing!!”
Can I tell you~ I learned so much more than just the life of a robin. I learned about the Creator of the robins. I learned about how He carefully and wonderfully made them. I saw how they instinctually knew how to care for and protect their babies. And as my followers on IG dropped because of the ridiculous amounts of photos, I felt loved. I felt seen and understood by that same Creator. I felt a connection to Him, not only seeing His handiwork, but knowing that He saw me and knew how much it meant to me to watch this. I truly feel like it brings God joy when His creation brings us joy. And even though my relentless obsessions drive people crazy, they don’t drive Him crazy. And I feel loved.
I printed all of those photos with Chatbooks, and I love looking at the photos. I love being reminded that I matter to Him. And this was an amazing and precious gift. I have used this to tell my kids how special they are to Him. I’ve used this to encourage them to be themselves and enjoy the precious things He puts before them that bring them joy. When we stop and appreciate the beauty around us, made by His hands, we know Him more.
“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10)