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12:51 p.m. - July 25, 2006
Fly Little Birdie
Itís not every day you have an actual biology observation outside the window in your walk in closet. But for the past month, thatís exactly what weíve been having.

We have this tree that grows right outside our kitchen window, and the top of the tree reaches up to the window in our closet. Itís not as big or impressive as our other trees, but itís a nice tree. Itís growing and every year it seems to provide more shade into our yard.

One day, about a month ago, Liz noticed a robins nest in that tree. Normally, of course, robins normally build nests in the spring, at least how Iíve noticed. But you know, nature can do different and weird things. This also may be the second nest for the year. Hard to tell, we didnít get to know the robins by name.

The robins were hanging around the nest more and more, and then she noticed some baby blue eggs. There were going to be some baby birds in that tree soon. She made sure she told Katie, and Katie was all excited about the eggs and the baby birds that may be coming soon.

So every night before bedtime, Katie would go into our closet and look at the eggs.

Then one day, Liz noticed some movement in the nest, and one less egg. The eggs were hatching! It was kind of hard to see the little baby birds in the nest, but we spotted them and got Katie up there to take a look at them. Right then, the mother robin came by with a mouthful of food for the baby.

Soon after, I saw her fly back up to the nest to incubate the other eggs. They all hatched within a day or so.

At first, Liz thought she saw three baby birds. But as time went on, we really only saw two of them in the nest. But when I was mowing the lawn, I did not notice any signs of baby bird carnage under the tree, so either we were mistaken, or the baby bird was carried away, leaving the other two in the nest.

Every day, Katie and Liz would watch the baby birds for a while in the window. It was really neat to see Katie watching and studying the birds. She saw the parent robins feeding the babies often, and the babies were always crying out for food, of course, when they werenít being fed.

I didnít realize how quickly it took baby robins to grow, but the next time I spotted the babies they looked nothing like the little helpless things that I spotted a week earlier. They were on the fast track to adulthood.

This weekend, while I was getting breakfast for Katie, she spotted a cat in the lower branches of the tree. The cat was climbing in the tree, but it was looking right through the window at us.

Katie was all concerned about the baby birds, though. She knows cats like to eat birds, and she was hoping the cat couldnít climb up to the top of the tree. I tried to reassure her that the tree wasnít really big enough to hold a cat like that, and that cat probably couldnít scamper up there.

Soon, the cat left the tree, and for a while, the birds were safe. I did want to check, so I ran up to the closet. I then spotted one of the robins flying into the tree soon after the cat left.

I saw one pretty darn big baby bird up there, and no sign of the other one. When I went out to mow the lawn, though, again I saw no sign of carnage. We also had not heard any odd shrieks or squeals coming from the tree, so obviously the other baby had flown away.

Yesterday, we looked at the nest, and it was empty. No baby bird, no parents, nothing. Those birds have flown.

Thatís fast tracking it to adulthood, for sure.

Iím glad Katie saw that, from egg to baby to Ďadolescentí. It was like a mini bio lab right there for her, safely observed from the windows of our house.

But now Iím thinking of what itís going to be like when our babies fly away. How empty will the nest be, and will we become crazy cat people (oh wait, weíre already crazy and we have cats, soÖ) or something else entirely different? Will we get a Winnebago and head out on the highway? (Well, maybe not a WinnebagoÖ)

Fortunately, itís not going to be just a month from conception to freedom for our kids. We have some time to adjust to whatever. And by the time Kristin and Katie are out of the house, we could probably use a break.

Of course that may not be for another 25 years or so based on school, job, etc. You know, if they linger on like that, I may wish for the fast track robin method to adulthood.

Nah. Right now itís too much fun being Dad.


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