News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2005


An observation on parenting

The robin redbreast at our back door is, if not dumb, persistent.

He's easy to recognize because he's the one with the dented skull that's been bashed flat by his constant crashing into the glass door that opens into our sunroom.

He's been at it for more than two weeks and shows no sign of giving up.

It took us several days to locate the cause of the repeated thud that echoes through the downstairs when skull and feathers meet glass.

"It's that blasted squirrel," I said to Regina the first time I heard the noise, vowing to get a larger, more sophisticated trap than the one it eluded all last summer.

But the squirrel's thud is more of a dull plop and comes from the roof when it darts out onto an overhanging limb on the maple tree and drops on all fours.

A frantic fluttering of wings always follows the robin's crash.

Every day, he lands on the deck, hops over to the door and attacks several times, then flies away and attacks again.

"I'm beginning to think that he thinks that's his job. He doesn't build nests, he doesn't feed his family, he butts our door," Regina said.

"But why?" I asked.

"He's a male," she replied.

"Are you using a metaphor?" I asked.

"You think so?" she replied.

"Yes," I said.

"Explain it to me," she said, enjoying the moment.

"Well, this bird's tired of getting up during the night to look for worms. He's trying to beat himself unconscious," I said.

"And?" she asked.

"You might be making a comparison," I said.

"To whom?" she asked.

"It might be to when a certain woman and her husband had babies at home and how she says he reacted to feeding and changing, and so he worked overtime at the office."

"That might explain the bird," she said.

On the next thud, I went to the door and said aloud, "Go ahead buddy, I understand. But you'll be better off in the long run to just go on home, because she won't forget."

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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