My Garden Buddy

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Mr. Robin May 1, 2015

Mr. Robin May 1, 2015

A member of the thrush family, American Robins are our most common birds. When they return from their winter travels we know spring is on it’s way. Here in Virginia they only seem to disappear for about a month or two in January and February. There are usually one or two that hang on even in the coldest months and I’ve often wanted to knit little jackets for them. I don’t put bird feeders out because I have a cat. I don’t think they eat many seeds anyway.

This year, when they returned from where ever they go, they came in huge flocks. The neighborhood was filled with their sharp clucks and trills and as the days passed some moved on further north. They’re found on most everyone’s lawn, digging about for juicy worms and grubs. They are as American as apple pie, baseball, and the Big Mac.

When I was about ten years of age, a robin became my pet for the summer and when he died later in the fall, I was heartbroken. You can read that story here. This year one of the Robins that frequents my garden and its numerous birdbaths, has become my gardening buddy.

He’s a handsome guy, with a black head and tail feathers, charcoal wings and a bright orange breast. He started hanging out with me a couple of weeks ago when I started digging up plants that needed to be relocated. Once the plant was out of the ground and I was planting it in it’s new spot, Mr. Robin dove into the soil I had just disturbed. He quickly downed the worms that were trying to wriggle their way back into the damp dirt and out of harm’s way. He’s very quick and gets quite a few out of every hole I dig.

Mr. Robin May 1, 2015

Mr. Robin May 1, 2015

When I start talking to him about how lovely the day is or ask about his family who must be nesting nearby, he stops digging, tilts his head to one side, and stares at me. Over the past few weeks he’s gotten closer, maybe two feet at times.

When I told a friend about him, she was worried that I wouldn’t have enough worms in my garden to keep it healthy, but I’m sure there are plenty to go around and I don’t mind sharing the bounty. The whole idea of keeping a garden is to relax among the plants and attract wildlife whether it be a plain old robin or a rabbit looking for a carrot patch.

The other day when it was raining and I chose not to work in the garden, I found Mr. Robin out on the patio near one of my french doors. He was looking right at me through the glass, chirping up a storm. Was he calling me to come out and dig a few holes for him? Maybe not, but with my creative imagination, I had to wonder. There are other numerous robins about but they all fly off as soon as they see me. This robin, however, is usually not visible until I start pottering about the yard. He hops about, inspecting the soil where I’ve just been working, gathers half-a-dozen or so juicy worms and flies off, returning a few minutes later. I presume he is feeding Mrs. Robin, who is keeping their light blue eggs warm.

Miss Liiliput

Miss Liiliput

Oh yes, what about the cat you ask? Lilli is getting on in age and stays in the house most of the day. Though she still stalks birds, she goes out later in the afternoon when the air has warmed up nicely, but by then it’s too warm for me to be gardening and Mr. Robin is hanging out elsewhere. When summer heats up, Lilli will be out and about more than she is now, but I will be done with the digging and planting by then. Mr. Robin will probably go off into another garden where no cats wander about.


  1. Joan, do you have a statue of St. Francis in that garden? You have a fransiscan approach to your lovely outdoors. I loved this sentence: “The whole idea of keeping a garden is to relax among the plants and attract wildlife whether it be a plain old robin or a rabbit looking for a carrot patch.”

    No Mr. McGregor, you!

    • Shirley, I don’t have one, but perhaps I do need one to open up the garden even more. I’m glad you like my post and that line in particular. Mr. McGregor was a meanie!!

  2. Joan – I love the vivid word picture you painted this morning! Your photos show that Mr. Robin is handsome, indeed. And Miss Lilliput — in her gorgeous feminine tuxedo — is beautiful all stretched out there on “her” couch.

  3. I love it when the kookaburras and butcherbirds hang around whilst I am mowing. They grab any bugs that fly up or dig for worms & grubs where the ground has been cleared.