“Oh no, he’s back.” That is what we recently said to each other in our household. Year after year in the Spring, a male robin appears around our house and more specifically on our daughter’s window sill. Nearly every morning around 5 AM, the robin in question begins to peck and pound on the window waking everyone up due to all of the racket.

In response to this, I decided to look up robin behavior. Apparently male robins have two key desires in life. One is to attract a mate and the other is to keep other robins away from its territory. When a robin bangs on the window, it thinks it is seeing another male robin invading its space when in fact it is only observing its own reflection.

In other words, when our robin does this, he is responding and getting worked up over nothing.

But something else has happened this spring. Area bears are back in full force. Somewhat comically, often around the same time in the morning as the robin is banging on our daughter’s window, our dogs go berserk, not because they are seeing their own reflection, but because they see bears roaming around outside. In the case of our dogs, they are reacting to something real. Our dogs are not wasting their energy at all, they are simply acting as they should.

All of this got me thinking about my own head. I realize that there are moments in which I am like a male robin. I sometimes get overly worked up over something that is either not there or not worth the rise in blood pressure, like a robin seeing its own reflection. Some things we are better off just letting go, not worrying about, or simply switching our attention to something that is actually relevant.

That said, there are other times when I am more like our dogs. I react to something that needs to be responded to that is worthy of my attention. To ignore such things would not be wise and likely lead to greater issues down the road.

Perhaps what I have been reminded of through all of this is to pay attention when I am reacting to something and if I am doing so because I’m being like a robin or more like a dog. If I am being like a robin I need to move on to other things. If I am being more like a dog, the time and energy invested is probably worth it.