Once there were two robins who were married. We’ll call them Papa Bird and Mama Bird, for they had just received the happy news that chicks were on the way (Don’t ask me how they knew; they just did). Needless to say, they were both very excited, as this was their first time to have eggs of their own.
After the first few days, however, Papa Bird’s excitement turned to confusion as he began to notice some odd behavior around his house. At first it was small things: he would come home from worm-hunting and find that his favorite twig, the one he sat on every night, had been moved across the nest. Being a patient bird, he didn’t say anything, but just adapted to the new view.
But his confusion continued when, a few days later, his twig was again moved to a third part of the nest. And then a fourth. Having heard that this sort of thing was “normal” (if that’s the right word) in expectant females, he again kept his mouth shut.
Then one day he came home to discover that the red twine that held the inside of the nest together had been removed and discarded beneath the tree, along with the wallpaper and gum wrappers that had adorned the east side of the nest. Taking the twine in his beak, he flew to the nest to find out what the problem was. But before he could ask, he was greeted with a question from his wife.
“Could you fly down to the big parking lot and get me some new twine. Light green and yellow please. And pick up a couple of saplings on the way back?”
“What’s wrong with this twine?” Papa Bird said, motioning to his beak. “And do you mean the big parking lot that’s three miles down the road?”
“Yes, that’s the one. And nothing’s wrong with that twine.”
“If nothing’s wrong with it, why are we replacing it?”
“Because the green one is prettier. And it’s just time for a change.”
“Well if it’s time for a change, why can’t we just use some of the twine that we’ve stored in the hole over there?”
“It’s called basic sanitation. Do you really think I’m going to have that filthy and dirty old stuff anywhere near our new chicks?”
“But I don’t understand. You’ve been moving stuff around around in this place for weeks. It’s like a totally new nest. Why do you all of a sudden feel this need to rearrange everything?”
“For the same reason that you feel the need to get up, puff out your bright red chest, and sing the same song every morning.”