After reading my post about bullfinches, a friend of mine emailed me a cool story about how her vet once rescued a baby robin and taught it to speak words and sing non-robin songs.

In discussing this with another friend today, she surmised that birds simply imitate what their parents sing but they have the capacity for so much more. She went on to say we parents can learn from this by encouraging our children to not just sing their parents’ song, so to speak.

This same friend once told me another cool story about a robin. She knows a man whose favorite bird is a robin. She was surprised such a common bird was his favorite so he explained what the robin meant to him. It was his grandmother’s favorite bird and, on the day of her funeral, he spotted a robin in the snow in her yard. This was a January day and robins don’t normally appear until late February or March.

This spring we had baby robins in our yard and it was very fun to see how they ate grape jelly from the Oriole feeder.  I was greatly surprised to see baby robins again in early August. I didn’t know they have two families every summer. They head south in late August or so. It only takes two weeks for the baby robins to grow up. I enjoyed sitting in the shade of the tree and watching the mom feed them and tidy the nest (a euphemism for “whisking away the excrement”). Then one day the birds were gone.

The orinthologist I mentioned in the bullfinches post said that when he was a boy his father chastised him for wasting his time studying birds and said he should learn about things that would make him money. He resolved right then that he would show his father that the study of birds really is a worthy pursuit and he went on to become a well-known orinthologist. The more I learn about birds and hear cool bird stories like these the more I see his point.

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