Last spring, on the second floor of 41 Mt. Vernon, I heard a chirping outside the bathroom window. The window opens up into a shaft of about 40 feet from the bottom (outside the window) to the top. I figured if it was an adult bird it would find its way out, so I’d wait and see. If it were a baby, it would still be there later, and I’d try to help it. But someone from the upper floors also heard it, and had stuck her head into the shaft and seen that it WAS a juvenile in need of help. So she came down to our floor, and people directed her to me, the resident bird-nerd.
We got the window open and looked in: the bird was on the adjacent windowsill, chirping away. It flew up about 10-12 feet, but fluttered back down. It tried again, fell again, and I became afraid it would injure itself. So, I got a stepstool and a manuscript box, climbed through the window and gently got the bird off the ledge into the box. The woman–Julie, it turns out–and I went up to her floor and looked out the windows to see if we could figure out where it had come from. Unable to find a nest or an adult bird, we brought it downstairs and outside near a grassy area behind a wrought-iron fence belonging to the state house. As we were standing there discussing what might become of this helpless bird if we let it go, we noticed a bird flying overhead; was it carrying a worm? It alighted high up on the side of the building next to us. In the course of a few minutes, it moved lower and lower, exhibiting some interest in the noises coming from the box in my hands. So, I put the box down and opened the lid. Then Julie and I stepped around a corner where we could watch it without being seen. No sooner were we out of sight than the adult robin swooped directly down to the baby and fed it the worm. The hungry fledgling ate it and hopped out of the box, and the two of them were soon ambling through the grass together.
I wanted to hug this woman I had just met. We could hardly believe that the absolute best outcome we could have hoped for had just come about: the baby safely reunited with its parent. Happy Spring indeed!