IF OVA IS PERCHING IN THE GARBAGE, a post-it on one of the feeding charts noted, SHE IS FEELING BROODY. BUILD HER A NESTING BOX. yes, one of the bird hospital's chickens—we have at least three or four—is named ova. if you find yourself en route to thebes and the sphinx asks you who gives birth astride a grave, you can say the laying hens at the wild bird fund and she'll throw herself from her high rock and die. or devour herself, maybe. it's christmas eve eve.

tiny tim—we call him timmy, actually—is a robin (illegally) raised and malnourished by a family who brought him to us when his all-blueberry diet caused all the feathers on his head and neck to fall out. the adults said they'd had him for six months and their kid said he'd been with them for nine years; who can say? tame little timmy vultured around the bird fund with the rest of the summer's orphans until everyone else rejoined their flock. we figured he'd look the way he did forever.

i watched a strapping young robin serenade my friend H in the songbird flyway this afternoon. "whose call is that?" i asked. "he made it up, i think," she replied. he swing-low-sweet-charioted away on his branch, pausing every now and again to accept a morsel of food from H. "you know this is timmy, right?" timmy! he tilted his glossy black head and flung a new song at us. it's christmas eve eve.

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