Laurie Tieman works at Wild Birds Unlimited during the day, but this animal lover proved she considers protecting our feathered friends a full-time job. Tieman was having lunch in the lovely outside eating area at Timbers Inn recently. She had been enjoying watching an American robin build a nest and then settle in to brood her eggs. On that afternoon she saw a man treating shrubs near the nest with a chemical insecticide. “I told him about the robin, but he said he’d been instructed to treat all the bushes,” Tieman stated. The owner of the business was in a meeting and couldn’t be interrupted. Tieman had a decision to make.
A tale with a happy ending, the potential conflict was resolved when owner Dean Juth came out after his meeting and told Tieman she did exactly the right thing. “Dean is at peace with nature,” Tieman said. Juth said he welcomes birds to his seating area, and a fountain attracts plenty. He said the setting is very natural, especially when the grasses get tall and provide a cozy backdrop to dining. He is mindful of the benefits of nature and has an herb garden nearby where he grows fresh herbs for use in the restaurant. “We’ve seen eagles back here,” Juth said.
Tieman said she looks forward to seeing the robins hatch and hopes others will take care when using pesticides. In this case the tree was treated at the roots, just as effective and with no affect on the bird.
Tieman said standing up for the robin is not out of character for her. With co-workers at Outdoor Birds Unlimited, she refers to spring as “turtle rescue season.” Turtles seeking mates and new habitat are notorious for crossing roads in spring and she has rescued plenty. Once she stopped traffic on Northland Drive in front of her store because a duck was leading her brood across the busy street.
Hoping to set an example to others, Tieman said people can often help their feathered friends. It is an old wives tale that you can’t touch a baby bird or its mother won’t accept it. Birds have no sense of smell and a young bird out of the nest too soon can be saved if carefully put back in. Older fledglings, however, need to be left alone. “If they have their feathers and are learning to fly, let them be,” she said. “The mom has kicked them out and they need to be on their own.”