A robin has built a nest in the angle of the downspout outside our garage door. It’s not a good spot, because the sound of the heavy automatic door startles her every time it opens or shuts, and the people door right under her nest is equally disturbing.

She’s been a persistent builder, because twice I used a broom to dislodge the first strands of the nest, and both times she returned, seemingly more determined. A third time a storm blew down the firmly packed cup of twigs and mud, and again the robin rebuilt. I can’t see if the nest holds any fragile eggs colored the famous robin-blue, but I assume it must or she wouldn’t guard it so ferociously.

I’ve noticed a crow swooping toward the nest several times, and I worry about the robin and her eggs. She squawks and beats her wings and calls an alarm. Sometimes the crow’s attack drives her from the nest and she flies to a nearby tree to chirp her distress. In fact, I haven’t seen the robin since a particularly noisy conflict several hours ago, and I’m growing more fearful that the crow destroyed her eggs.

I don’t know what to make of the perils common in nature. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount contains the famous passage, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6: 26, NIV). The example is found in a section typically labeled “Do Not Worry” in many translations, but when I observe the robin absent from her nest at my back door, I don’t feel very comforted.

On the other hand, this mama bird has survived three attacks on her nest (two by me and one by a storm). My yard is full of singing beauty, especially in spring, and my heart lifts every time I hear the songs or see the fluttering color.

Yes, the dangers of life (often of our own making) swoop in regularly and sometimes without warning. It’s unsettling and sad. Yet for weeks I’ve enjoyed watching this robin, and every time I’ve smiled at God. If I have put so much interest and energy into observing this bird in her nest, I’m certain that in the words of an old hymn,“[God’s] eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”

Marnie C. Ferree