But just a day or two after Billy Heron, the patriarch of my back yard gardens and ponds left, Cocky Robin brushed aside the murmured objections from the littler birds, and mounted the Sacred Roof Arch for his own announcement.

“Listen up!  When Billy Heron’s gone, Cocky Robin is the maximum Boss! Capeesh?

All of the little birds decided to play along.  They felt bad for Cocky Robin and Myra, who’d set up their nest in the Arbor Vitae tree next to our garden in suburban Portland Oregon.  All last summer the robins nested and gorged themselves on our worms, berries and grapes.  But just when their eggs hatched, the crows swept through.

I had watched last year as the Robins sat silently by my backyard pond,  pretending to ignore the crows.  The crows swept east through the robin’s nest, until the hawks massed at the golf course and forced the crows to split into their traditional north and south enclaves, into the second growth hardwoods along Rock Creek.

This year the robins are attempting to nest in the exact same spot. It’s a wide-open arbor vitae in my side yard, next to the street. I see them flying mouthfuls of worms into the top of the tree, sometimes as often as every minute.

The robins nest 10 feet up, near the top of the arbor vitae left of center, along the fence.  The robins also insist on an exclusive easement along the fence top.

I don’t know why they don’t nest in my tool shed, on a ladder, in a gutter, or under an eave or someplace inconvenient like most robins. I felt bad for the robins and decided to help them out. But they are quite bossy.

The deal-killer came when the robins insisted on sole water rights, including bathing and drinking, from my little artificial creek.

“All the water’s ours!”

Hey, we’ve got nests here too,” riposted the junco.

“Hey Hey you two, hold it down,” I insisted. But I had to take action.  I got hold of the “fixer,” for this robin flock; a old robin named Robin Moses.  I set out a dish of grapes and berries and he flew over.  

“What’s the deal?” Moses insisted,”You want Cocky to give up water rights; what do you got in return?”

“There’s an excess parcel up for disposal from the Frog Mitigation Area. Make an offer on it to Frog Court. Parcel 666,” I offered, “In exchange, get Cocky Robin to share the water rights.”

Moses scoffed. “Why would anyone want that parcel.  It’s just a 100 square feet between ornamental flowers.  Ain’t worth shit.”

I sneered at him and pushed photos across the table.  “The big payoff is, you will be the only one bidding on the subsurface rights.  Parcel 666 is the old compost pit for our kitchen; it’s 100 square feet full of worms now.”

“Jeez,” gasped Robin Moses.  “These worms are easy pickings.  Who knows about this?’  I smiled. “Just me and you, and Cocky, if you cut him in on this.”

In return for the quiet quitclaim of the subsurface worming rights, the robins agreed to tolerate other birds in the creek.  This hasn’t stopped the robins from flying down and sitting nearby while other birds bathed, and glaring the stink eye at them. But no feathers are flying.

Thanks for reading The Daily Bucket,