If anyone asked me what my least favourite animal would be, hands down I would pick the robin. I profoundly respect and admire all animal life, but robins just drive me crazy when it rains. When it rains worms come out of the ground in the hundreds. Most of my dog walks on rainy days involve just walking back and forth between worms to hide them in the grass, pulling them off the concrete, out of puddles, and out of the middle of the road. Robins spend most of their rainy days poking at the worms, and accidentally killing without eating them. If they ate them I could say that's life, but when they don't eat them I'm tempted to think it's cruel. It's very common for me to find ripped apart barely alive worms, and then I curse the robins. That's why I was surprised when my first instinct, upon seeing an injured robin, was to immediately help it.
My dog found the robin, one wing nearly backwards as it sat along the side of the forest path on a rotting log. It was so slouched and broken looking I was sure it was dead until it blinked. The robin let me fix his wing, and then kind of flopped away before getting stuck in a bush. I always marvel at wild animals from a far, wishing I could be close up to them. When I finally was, the robin looked like he didn't care that I was near because he knew he would die anyways which made me very sad. Perhaps now I'll be happier the next time a wild animal won't let me near it, because that means it is healthy. The weirdest part was that there wasn't a scratch on him. No ruffled feathers, no blood, no cuts.
Luckily I knew how to hold the robin (one hand under his body, the other clasped on top with your fingers in a v shape around his head so he can't bite you) so we walked home and now he's sitting in an old rabbit cage as I wait for the humane society to come by. I'm actually surprised they're coming, all this fuss over just a robin. It warms my heart that they don't think he's just another native bird that doesn't need saving. He even drank water droplets off my fingertips, opening his mouth wide when I put my fingers over his head like I assume mother birds do. It makes me wonder how old he is. I don't expect him to live because he can't stand and can't use his wings. At least he won't die alone though, which is a very human thought if you think about it. I wonder if he cares. Now that he's not afraid of me, he doesn't mind me.
John Livingston wrote that one of the most profound experiences in nature is being able to identify it, to be able to give it a name and feel like you know it. Now I feel bad because I think I know the robin. The other day while walking down the exact same path my dog stuck her nose in between some rocks. When she pulled it out, a robin flew out. How weird I thought, a robin in the rocks. How strange it is that we probably meet again, no more than five feet away from the last place. I wonder if he recognized my dog, poking him for a few seconds before I noticed that she just wasn't smelling a rotting log after all.
The robin has such pretty markings. Only one of his tail feathers has a white speck, the rest are dusty grey. His eyes are outlined with white like eyeliner, which a little dot on each side. His stomach is more dull orange than bright red. His legs look worn, like old leather. His claws are long and pointy, and very black. It's a shame this is the way I finally get to know him.
Comment after the humane society came: The humane society came thirty minutes after I called and the lady was extremely nice. To my horror she turned the robin over and there was dried blood in his wings and an exposed rib cage. I guess he'd been like that for a while. I'm glad I didn't notice, because I might have panicked instead of calmly waiting for them to come as I sat beside his temporary cage. I assume it was a cat, even though it's illegal for them to be outdoors alone there are far too many where I live. Maybe outdoor cat is my least favourite animal of them all, now that I think about it. The robin will be euthanized because he was in pain and very dehydrated, so the lady said. I'm sorry to see my first robin friend go, but at least he won't suffer alone anymore.