Security chicks

by cheri




We’ve all made our nests in the wrong trees.

Before we could even tuck that last piece of dental floss or sphagnum moss into our chosen abode, our decision to locate in a particular apartment or home was already causing warning lights to blink.

The first apartment I shared with my husband, I thought, was just perfect for our first year of marriage, until a cockroach bit its way out of our kitchen wall just as my first dinner “party” began.

The third apartment, located in a sketchy area of south Sacramento, was worse. My neighbor, Mr. Sands, stayed home all day with his five children collecting welfare because he “…could make ten more dollars on welfare than he could driving a truck.” The people that lived above us collected Aunt Jemima syrup bottles, which rattled like a sick marimba to a bass beat played 24/7.

Our first house had been owned by the same older couple for 50 years. When we moved in, it became disgustingly apparent that cleanliness had been low on their list of priorities. Under the kitchen cabinets housing glassware, the cook had bubbled spaghetti sauce, definitely not in the simmer mode, in an electric skillet twice a week for fifty years. Stuck to the bottom of the cabinet were layers and layers of dried iterations of tomato paste.

Even birds, usually the sweet doves, make their nests in the worst locations. This spring, the robins have returned to the Rancho in numbers unseen in past years. Everywhere I look among the sycamores and oaks, I see robins.

So you will agree that this mother robin was only thinking of her eggs’ security when she began to collect wood, string, grasses and fluff for a month-long sit in a comfy little nest.



You may also remember the Woody Allen movie in which he is living in a tiny house under a roller coaster.

Although Lady Robin’s nightly reverie is not beset with the din of metallic locomotion, she might as well be living on the midway of the state fair.

She had failed to appreciate until the dark of night had set in that her incubator sits under the security box that beams bandwidth from the video camera at the gate to my computer screen in the library, alerting me of gate visitors.



All night, a cavalcade of rapidly blinking lights-green, red, and yellow–trip the night fantastic.

There she sits, intent on her evolutionary job of warming the eggs to hatching temperature.

I can only imagine what her chicks will experience when their first night of life is not really night at all but rather a psychedelic evening of mind-bending vibration and color.

They shall be little Robinoids.




About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Parenting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Security chicks

  1. says:

    great observation Cheri! ha! Robinoids et all!

  2. Maybe she is a disco lover. We had a hummer nest on a 2 in wide insulator outside the window. The nest was bigger than its perch. Birds are darting in and out of our trees and bushes now setting up housekeeping.

  3. Brighid says:

    You could hang a mini disco ball up there to have the full effect! Killdeer are interesting nest builders, we had a couple pairs that always built their nests in the middle of the gravel road. We put big rocks around so no one would run over them.

  4. Richard says:

    American robin, did you you know,
    A namesake has in Europe?
    An image I attach below,
    For breeding is of little hope.

    So I’ve not seen a robinoid
    And nor have you, I guess,
    The two would look so strange alloyed –
    Quite likely, just a mess.

    Yet rainbow colours could appear
    (Or colors, for this ditty)
    That pan and flash when something’s near:
    Euro-American security!

    [Wikimedia Commons, attribution: © Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0 ]

  5. Cheri says:

    What a delightful poem and luscious picture. So much more attractive than our American robin. The delicate feathers and orange breast. Beautiful!!!

    • Richard says:

      Having never seen an American robin, I could not say. Here they are naturally tame and come up close for worms when you dig, ferreting round rather like customs chicks. They are beautiful songbirds (like the Americans, of the thrush family) despite their small sze and are very territorial, with complex warning signals, and can fight to the death. Thus, though having everything in common with their continental counterparts, they will vote Brexit.

      Their warning cry sounds like “…… chick chick chick chick …. check ceck check check check check check check ….. chick chick chick chick chick …. check …. check ….. “.

  6. Cheri says:

    We are rooting for worms and Brexit.

  7. shoreacres says:

    Hey! let’s have a little respect for the robin. That was the bird of my childhood, and I thought him quite handsome. Not only that, the robin’s song at dawn and dusk was luscious. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there are YouTube videos that provide up to an hour’s worth of robins singing, and, yes: I have been known to listen.

    We have kildeers here, too. I found this one at the San Bernard wildlife refuge. Their babies are so precious. They look like golf balls on legs, and they are the fastest things in the world.

    I loved your description of those early apartments. I still remember — vividly, if not fondly — a couple of basement apartments I had. Neither had a kitchen, and I learned early on that an electric skillet can do nearly everything a person requires, including baking cakes.

    I must say, that robin’s nest looks like the avian equivalent of any port in a storm. It does look cozy, though.

  8. Cheri says:

    OK. I retract my statement but that British Robin (hood) is adorable. Your photo of the killdeer is only exceeded by your description.
    What I chose to leave out in all of those early apartments/homes is enough to turn anyone’s stomach.
    Right after I published this post, the mother robin left her nest. I feel entirely guilty.

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