I was not home last Monday when strong storms swept through; I was about 40 miles away, in Baltimore, where howling gusts and hailstones suddenly appeared. This radar map shows a storm moving by our home, which is pretty much right where the dot over the "i" appears in "Washington":
When I got home later, the skies were clear, but the creeks were loud and swollen with rushing water.
How were the robin hatchlings in our back-yard fig tree? They appeared to be fine, although their nest was tilted at a bit of an angle. That tilt increased into the evening, and more overnight. The birds were still in their nest first thing Tuesday morning. But when we went out about twenty minutes later, the nest was tilted at about ninety degrees, and it was empty! The hatchlings were on the ground.
I put on a pair of work gloves, and righted the nest. Then, using a big fig leaf that had been downed by the storm as a sort of hatchling transfer platform, I gently put each bird onto the leaf, then lifted and restored 'em to the nest, one at a time.
A few days later, my wife told a small group of colleagues – several Americans and one Italian – about the rescue. They asked her how the baby robins were doing, and she used her iPad to show them this photo taken after the birds' return:
At that, the Americans said, approximately, "Awwwwwwwwwww", while the Italian asked, simply, "Can you eat them?"
[Please note: Use of trademarks does not imply endorsement or sponsorship. The fig-robin pix are updated daily at http://xrl.us/FigRobins. We were thinking of titling this piece something about "tastes like chicken", but we're glad we didn't.]