PLATTSBURGH — “Now I want to tell you the adventures of a very special robin.”
Thus begins the telling of a story with all the makings of a children’s storybook. Except this story is true,
carefully typed out and stored in a photo album by Plattsburgh resident Ingeborg Beyer Sapp.
In that photo album are snapshots of the bucolic 1988 summer that Sapp and her husband, Robert, shared with a very unique roommate at their cabin along Eagle Crag Lake in Piercefield.
DARKER AND DARKER
The story, as all good ones do, started with a dark and stormy night.
“It got darker and darker and there was a rumble in the distance,” Ingeborg wrote.
The storm tears apart a robins nest near the Sapps home, sending the young chicks in the nest falling to the ground.
“They hit hard, and one of them broke its leg,” Ingeborg wrote.
The Sapps took the bird in, nursing it back to health.
“We were determined to raise the youngster and return it to its world.”
As the bird grew, the Sapps watched freckled feathers cover its breast, leading to its nickname: Freckles.
The robin enjoyed a steady diet of “flies, worms and berries” and three massages a day.
“The day it stood on both legs unsupported — we celebrated,” Ingeborg wrote.
As the bird got up and about, it started joining the Sapps as they ran their errands around the home.
“When I worked in the garden, Freckles hopped happily around me, hunting for grubs and worms in the ground,” Ingeborg wrote.
Though Freckles did try and socialize with other birds, even once getting into “a scrap” with another robin, the bird always appeared at the Sapps’ door each evening.
FROM BRANCH TO BRANCH
As Freckles got his feet under him, he began testing out his wings.
“I was sorry that I was unable to take its parents place to coach it along,” Ingeborg wrote.
“It fluttered from branch to branch. The distances increased and the muscles strengthened.”
Soon the little bird was zipping about, having conquered its element.
But even with the freedom of flight, Freckles stayed close by the Sapps.
The bird came “flying along to the neighbors, welcoming me home when returning by boat — my shoulder provided safe landing.”
Like a stubborn cat, Freckles kept a steady morning schedule, hopping atop the Sapps bedspread to “stare at us until one of us would get up to open the door.”
Though catching much of its own food, the bird also shared meals with its human friends.
This culinary curiosity got the better of Freckles one day when he swooped down and gobbled up a glob of paint that Igneborg had just squeezed out.
“Concerned about poison, I fed it seven worms to dilute the paint,” she wrote.
“Freckles was fine. Just a bright red spot on its chest marked its culinary adventure for a few days.”
As with most birds, Freckles took quickly to birdbaths to scrub off and splash around.
“It splashed water all over itself and then would lie down, its back facing the sun and hang its wings out to dry,” Ingeborg wrote.
“We were able to entice it to perform just by splashing the water. Freckles had become well-known around the lake and curious visitors delighted in its antics.”