Our three scrawny baby birds have become fuzzy teenagers overnight.

Yesterday afternoon, when Libby and I came home from work, two fluffy looking birds were lounging on our front doorstep. They were sitting on the threshold of the doorjamb with their backs pushed up against the door. Each bird had picked a corner, and they were hanging out there looking like a pair of gangsters leaning up against a cement wall in the "hood."

I parked the car inside the attached garage, and carried Libby inside the house. Curiously, I peered out the front window to see if the birds were still lazing by the front door. They were, and they didn't seem to be in a hurry to leave. After thirty minutes without movement by either bird, I decided to up the fun factor.

With Liberty balanced in my left arm, I loudly unlocked, relocked, and unlocked the front door. I hesitated. I heard no movement on the other side of the door. I opened the front door just a crack to see if the birds were still there. They were. The tail feathers of one bird stuck through the open crack of the doorway. I lightly touched his tail. He did not move at all. I tried to let Liberty see the birds through the crack in the door, but I didn't want her to get pecked in the eye either. I closed the door to get the teenage robins to hop off the door frame. They didn't budge.

I reopened the door and observed the nearest robin, the one with the tips of his tail feathers inside my house. He was scruffy looking. His feathers were downy soft and fluffed up. His chest sported a light amber coloring and dark brown polka-dots. I assume his chest will darken into the famous rust color of Robin Red Breasts as he ages. I wanted to touch him, but, okay, I admit it. I am scared of birds. Maybe I read Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds at too young an age. Sure, they look cute from a distance, but get within six feet of one, and you'll notice the beady little eyes, the sharp, pointed beak, the scratchy clawed feet.

This robin's beak seemed exceptionally pointed and shiny, maybe because he was so young or maybe because I was so close to him. My eyeballs were about six inches from his pointed beak. I checked that the crack in the door was small enough to keep his body out if I needed to suddenly pull my eyes away from the opening. I ached to touch him, but I decided to play it safe. I picked up one of Kimmie's flip-flops that happened to be near the front door (and shouldn't have been). I figured, if I touched him gently with the shoe and he didn't violently stab at it, then I could try again with my finger. I slid the foam sole through the crack in the door and gently rubbed the robin's back.

In a flutter of feathers, he and his sister fled from my doorstep. As I stared down at the twin piles of waste matter built up on both corners of the threshold, I realized the siblings must have been sitting at my door at least all day, if not all of the previous night. Had their mother been bringing their food to them at my doorstep?

At least real gangsters at their favorite hang-out spots have the decency to find a toilet when necessary. I closed the door to prevent any stray birds from swooping in, and I walked to the cabinet under the kitchen sink to get a scrub brush, thankful that only two of the three siblings had visited my doorstep.
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