The Story of the Robin

Dan Canon
4 min readJun 8, 2024

On the first day, the robin brushes up on our porch, scratches at the window above the back door, and drops three tiny sticks on a ledge that cannot be more than five inches wide. The sticks fall to the warped, unfinished decking, where they will remain until removed by forces apathetic to human intervention. The robin flies away.

She flies up again with three more sticks, again places them on the ledge, and again the sticks flutter to the deck. The robin tilts her head to track the components of her would-be brooding space. Unfazed, she flies off and returns with more sticks.

We watch half smiling through the steam rising from our coffee. It happens five or six more times. “Good luck, stupid.” Off to work.

On the second day, same thing.

On the third day, same thing.

By the fourth day, the sticks on the deck are somehow no longer “sticks” but more like what English-speaking humans would call “brush,” held together by dried birdshit. Alarmingly, there is also a collection of brush on the ledge, such that it may not be correct to call it “brush” anymore but rather the beginnings of a “nest.”

A baby turdus migratorius

Were it not for the slightness of the ledge, the back porch would be decent real estate for a growing family of robins. It is covered from the elements, eyes of predators, and easy access of…



Dan Canon

Civil rights lawyer, law professor, and high school dropout. Writes about the Midwest, class struggle, and the untold horrors of the legal system.