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Bugs, Not Berries!
Photo: Studiomill
I have been trying to have serious talks with the robins lately, especially with the younger generation of “teens.”

It’s all about the fruits of the vines—MY vines that I planted, cultivated, and water when the rains don’t come. MY black and red raspberries. MY strawberries and blueberries. My big, juicy blackberries.

“Eat the bugs and not the berries!” I scold. “Besides, you can have all the rejects.”

They sit on the fence or the ground a few feet away looking at me quizzically and waiting until I turn my back so they can dart in and steal a beak-full of berry.

I felt pleased with myself for the way I secured the red raspberry patch with netting. I even cloths-pinned a few plastic bags here and there to rustle and blow in the breeze to frighten the birds away. A couple robins sat in the tree nearby, watching. Their babies had enjoyed the taste of black raspberries and they were going to LOVE the red ones!

“Stay out of my berries,” I warned them.  They just cocked their heads to one side and looked at me.

Robins are Pretty Smart

I went indoors and watched from the kitchen window as the parent robins flew down to look at my handiwork. Robins are pretty smart. In less than five minutes, the two of them figured their way in and out and my few ripe berries began flying away.

Birds must grow faster when they’re fed with berries. I didn’t even see them as babies, but all of a sudden I had a flock of teenagers. Like human teens, they can consume a week’s worth of food in a day.

Fortunately, the vine berries produced in abundance this year. Neighbors even got to enjoy. But still…I’d so much rather the birds would develop a taste for Japanese beetles rather than berries.

The blackberries, or potential loss of them, is when I went into my raving. I’ve just three clumps of Oregon Thorn-less: berries that when ripe or nearly ripe are too large for a robin to eat whole. So they just crush the juice from the ripening sacs. I moved the netting from the red raspberries to the blackberries. (Reds were about done. Besides, even with the covering, the robins would enter that little six-by-six patch and gather with me.)   

This morning when I went to pick berries, I saw a robin hardly bigger than a golf ball covered with fluff and feathers sitting outside the garden fence studying a way to get in. Sigh.

I scold the birds, but the wonder I felt as a child watching things of nature fills me again as I marvel at God’s creations—even the persistent robins. I hope I never get too old for the wonder—or remembering that all that I have is a gift from God and not of my own doing or possessing.

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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