Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a Robin, minding his own business, when one day a new feature turned up in his territory.
He couldn't know it was a 24 inch square black plastic tray. He just knew someone had loaded it with 'goodies', and all the other birds in the area had discovered it before him.
He set about clearing out the competition, and settled down to feast.
He'd been picking through the windfall for about ten minutes when he spotted, from the corner of his eye, something small and round and pink staring at him from the middle of a small green box.
He'd never seen anything like it before in his life and went closer to investigate....
...and promptly fell in love.
Food forgotten the robin serenaded his new love for several minutes, he sang loud and clear without stopping to give her time to reply.
Undaunted when his new love failed to respond, the robin doubled his efforts. He sang louder and longer and stopped only to chase off intruders who dared to filch the sunflower seeds while he concentrated on serenading his new love.
For two days he sang and preened and puffed up his feathers, only stopping long enough to search round the side of the green box to see if his love was hiding behind it.
The longer she failed to respond the more desperate he became. Overnight he perched on a nearby branch to watch over the love of his life, and during the night the wind blew up a storm...
... and his love disappeared.
Dark storm clouds gave way to a silvery dawn and wind tossed leaves. Trees swayed in the breeze and the robin tightened his grasp on his perch. He couldn't believe his eyes. Beneath the cover of darkness his love has done a bunk.
He ignored the dawn chorus and watched the sun come up in silence. Flocks of other birds feasted on the now soggy seeds in the tray below him but the robin didn't care. He kept searching the area for the missing red-eyed green box.
He heard the door of the human box open and watched 'the man' approach. He carried the box in his hands. How dare the human take his love away from him! He let off a volley of cracks and twitters to let the man know how he felt about his actions.
His anger evaporated when he saw his love once again perched on the edge of the tray. He watched the man retrace his steps and disappear. He flew down, his heart full of joy, and began singing.
Perhaps today his love would respond.
He looked about him and spied an ideal gift. If she accepted this small twig he knew they could build a nest together. He set the twig down on the ground in front of her and waited.
Her lack of appreciation annoyed him. He picked up the twig and pushed it right under her pretty little pink nose. He'd spent a restless night thinking about her and now she ignored him.
He flew back up into the tree and studied his recalcitrant chosen bride.
Could she be hiding behind the box and not seen his gift? He flew down and peered round each side of the box. If she was hiding, he sure didn't know where she'd gone. Disheartened he returned to where he'd left the branch, and began serenading her in a series of soft trills and whistles.
At Last! A response! But not, he realised, from the box in front of him.
Irritated by the interruption, he cast a glance over his shoulder.
On the water feature stood another robin. Her soft eyes gazing at him hopefully.
She released a volley of trills and whistles, her gaze never shifting from him. Her obvious fascination soothed his bruised ego. He wanted a family, and his first love wasn’t interested. What should he do?
He’d spent the last three days trying to woo his heart’s desire, and now this female robin looked at him with adoration. He shuffled his feet and puffed his feathers. She hopped into the concealing branches behind her, taking her songs with her.
His world seemed to hold its breath while he faced down his first love. As he studied his reflection in the glass eye centred in the green box his patience snapped. Never-the-less, he found it hard to turn away without one more try.
His peck, part frustration and part regret, garnered no response. It became all 'goodbye'. He'd spent the last three days hoping to win his true love's affection in vain, now he needed to look to his future. And his future waited for him on a tree branch not far away.
* * *
Building a new home and looking after his family consumed all his time and attention. If he ever thought of his wasted devotion, the memories faded when his first chick left the nest.
Who knew how time consuming the demands of his newly fledged babies would be? He may not have his first love at his side, but his chosen partner proved to be a good mother, rearing strong healthy chicks. And now, as he brought a juicy worm for her to feast on while she brooded their second batch of eggs he looked down with pride at his first born, already self-reliant and capable of fending off any competition.
Happiness beat in his little heart and he threw back his head and sang out his contentment at the top of his voice.