Most people think Aaron was our first baby, but did I ever tell you that we really raised two babies before Aaron was born? Well, it all came about when an old barn was torn down and the neighbor children brought us a nest with 4 newborn robins that they’d found in the collapsed rubble of the barn. Two died the first night, but we were able to raise the other two to adulthood. We named the more raucous chick “Woodstock” and the smaller one “Littl’un.” After making them a comfy home with their nest at the bottom of a cardboard box in our living room, they took us right in and treated us like parents…waking us up early with enthusiastic chirps for breakfast bugs and keeping us up late at night searching for night crawlers to satisfy they voracious appetites. We kept them for more than three weeks, and like good parents, we took them with us everywhere, introducing them to all our friends and relatives, and making sure they had the best upbringing we knew how to give them, including lessons on how to fly and how to dig for worms. As they grew up, they learned to hop out of their box and up my lap onto my shoulder when they wanted more to eat (although—as you can see—they failed at potty-training prowess). By early July, Woodstock and Littl’un had learned pretty much everything we could teach them, so we took them outside every day, where they were free to come and go as they liked, although for the first few days, they kept pretty close to home, returning to their nest in the evening. However, the night came when they didn’t return. We were both pleased that they’d grown up and very sorry to miss their cheerful companionship! However, every once in a while they’d return to visit, and a neighbor told us a few weeks later that while he was out in his garden digging with a shovel one morning, a robin landed on his shoulder and wanted to dig for worms in the freshly-turned earth, so we were glad to know he was doing fine! This spring (40 years later), Kari Witmer had a similar experience, and she’s been kind enough to share this picture and her story with us: “The mother pushed two out of the nest… One had died but my boys wanted to feed the one that was living. We fed her worms and raw ground beef. I really didn’t think she would live, but she did! After making herself at home in our house and with us, we’ve since put her outside and she still comes to us for food, peeping at the windows and landing on us when we are outside. Her name is Robbi.” Isn’t that precious? So, if you come upon an abandoned orphan, don’t think it’s hopeless! You never know what a little surrogate love might do. 🙂
“Defend the poor and fatherless” (Psalm 82:3).
(P.S.—If you have a story about birds that you’d be willing to share, please let me know! I’m hoping to make a series about birds and bird identification that might be fun for all ages.)