Happy new year, my friends. In 2020, may your yarn never tangle and may nobody interrupt you when you’re counting stitches. How’s your new year going so far? Here at Twisted Towers, I’ve knitted a few rounds of sock, cleaned out the water-butt (yuckety-yuck), and taken the twinnage to the dentist.
And a few days ago, something magical happened, involving this beauty:-
You’ll know the basics already if you follow me on Instagram, but here’s the whole story. Do you remember last summer, I very slowly befriended a robin named Robyn? (Read the story here.) Throwback photo from the summer:-
She was raising her brood in a nest behind the shed and after considerable coaxing, she began to take mealworms from my lap/hand. Then she became more confident, following me around the garden and demanding VERY LOUDLY that I feed her RIGHT NOW. Not gonna lie – I fell in love. Here’s a three-second clip from back in June:-
Her babies reached fledgling age and sometimes, I’d see her feeding them on the fence or yelling at them to GET BACK IN THE NEST. (Robins are shouty.) Her children were round and fluffy, and all-brown because they hadn’t yet developed their red chests. By the end of the season, Robyn was looking a little raggedy, but as a fellow mum-of-multiples, I could kinda relate.
Then she vanished. It happened one morning. She’d tapped on the window, demanding breakfast. (This was a newish behaviour.) I followed her down the garden as she bobbed from shrub to shrub, and I fetched the mealworms from the shed. But this time, she didn’t come and eat. I sat on the little bench, arm outstretched, with a handful of food, but no robin appeared. As I waited, I began to think some uncharitable thoughts about robins who were, quite frankly, beginning to take the proverbial. It was quiet that morning, very quiet, and it took me a while to realize why: sparrowhawk. Close by and very beautiful, but a massive threat to Robyn. She must have been hiding. Clever girl. I didn’t have a camera with me, but here’s a rubbish phone-shot of a sparrowhawk that I’d seen in the garden a few months earlier:-
I didn’t see Robyn again. No matter how many times I scattered mealworms or sat on that bench, she didn’t appear. It was impossible to know whether she’d been caught by the sparrowhawk, or had migrated for the coming winter, or had simply finished her short life. I missed her. I missed her a lot.
Months passed, and of course life continued as it always does. Sometimes I’d notice other robins, but none were tame. Then a few days ago I was pottering about in the garden, and I became increasingly aware of a robin following me around. It definitely seemed to be attention-seeking, flying close by repeatedly and shouting at me. Could it be? Possibly?
For the first time in a while, I fetched the bag of mealworms from the shed, and stood, holding out a handful. She perched on the fence and looked at me, as though unsure. “Robyn! Mealworms!” I called, as I’ve called many times before (the neighbours must think I’m nuts), and then the magical thing happened. SHE FLEW DOWN AND TOOK A MEALWORM FROM MY HAND! Then she made a circuit of the garden and back to the fence, and swooped down to take another! Surely it had to be her? The pestering, the almost immediate confidence, surely that could only be Robyn?
I don’t know where she’s been (European robin migratory patterns are nothing if not complicated) and I haven’t asked her, but wherever it was, it suited her. She’s looking sleek and healthy and plumper than she did before.
She still likes her mealworms, though.
And I’m so very, very happy that she’s back. ❤️