I was fairly certain I had a couple more days in which to prepare for the release of the baby robin. Actually, Cheepers isn't so little anymore. His tail feathers were about 1/4" long when I found him and now they're probably close to 3 inches in length. I must have done something right in providing him with nourishment because he seemed to grow by leaps and bounds.
Last night I was getting him ready for bed and he completely surprised me. The night time ritual was one I'd had with him since the beginning of his stay. I'd make sure he had clean papers and a little bit of seed and water in case he wanted a snack during the night. I'd close the curtains behind his cage, turn off the lights, and cover the cage 3/4 of the way with a towel. Usually, he went straight to sleep and I didn't hear a peep from him until morning, when he'd begin chirping as if in chorus with the other birds who were outside and living free.
As I began our ritual last night, I opened the cage door and instantly he flew up and out, circled the room, and finally landed near the ceiling on top of a quilt hanging on the wall. At first, I was stunned to see him flying that high but then my very next thought was 'I hope he doesn't whitewash the walls or my quilt!'.
I called to my spouse and asked for his help. I suggested he bring a long-handled implement with him. He seemed confused by my request and I hurriedly explained what had just transpired. I suppose Cheepers thought it humorous that we were standing there trying to reach him with a mop handle. We thought he might perch on it and allow us to slowly bring down the handle and retrieve him. But he had other ideas. Just as my spouse reached up to him with the mop handle, Cheepers decided to fly to the other side of the room and perch on top of the window. We moved closer to him and tried to prevent him from flying further. I think he knew the game was over. He then flew downward and landed near the floor. My spouse was able to gently catch him in cupped hands and return him to the cage. I looked at Cheepers and said, 'Ok, little one, tomorrow is your liberation day'.
Until viewing Cheepers' flying acrobatics, I thought he would probably be earthbound for a few more days. His timing was amazing though. I'd been hoping and praying to receive a positive "sign" that the bird was ready for release. I had done what I could for him and had tried to be to be a good surrogate mother. I'd not only wanted him to survive, but to be healthy enough to fly and live free. When reading about baby birds, I'd learned when a bird could achieve and sustain height, he was ready to be released.
I'm a great believer in signs and I know I received one last night. This bird who I thought still needed me had decided he was ready to be on his own. Sometimes we ask for signs and receive them, but don't recognize or embrace them. Other times, we think we've been given signs, but then wonder if what we experienced was simply coincidence. I feel sure that last night's event was not a coincidence.