Thursday, June 20, 2013

In Memory of a Young Robin

Dead Juvenile American Robin. Watercolor by Ken Januski

It's now breeding season for birds and has been for a month or more. Since we decided to volunteer for bluebird nest monitoring at Morris Arboretum this year we've gotten some first hand experience with breeding birds. At the same time we often seen breeding birds 'in the wild' so to speak as well. Recently we've seen Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Kingbirds and Baltimore Orioles on nests. Earlier in the year we saw Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Soon we'll see Orchard Orioles I'm sure, if we can just follow them to their nests.

And of course one of the most common nesting birds we've seen is the American Robin. A loud thunk in our backyard this morning reminded me of how difficult the process to adult bird can be. Even though we have windows with closed blinds that shouldn't fool a bird into thinking open space and safety lies just through the glass this poor juvenile managed to hit our window anyway. Since it's on the second floor and away from most predators it's not easy to understand what happened.

Jerene saw him from our bedroom window and yelled out to me. But when I got out a ladder to check on the roof on which he'd landed he wasn't there. Perhaps he'd survived? But then I looked in the gutter. Sad to say he was there and no longer alive. It's always sad to see dead birds like this. One thing that an artist can do is at least try to make a sketch or painting of them, both for knowledge's sake and as a sort of memorial. That's the case with this sketch and watercolor.

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