Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kamikaze Robin Influx

We had a sudden influx of robins today, flying with great frenzy around our building's grounds. They are my favorites, sparrows next. A neighbor of mine, a horticulturist by trade, was watching them out in the driveway.

“Look at all these robins,” I marveled. “I didn’t think it was time for them to show up.”

“It’s too early,” he said. “Look, most of them are young. They still have down feathers.” They did. Flashes of white fluff made a stripe between the redbreast and the brown. “It’s too early for them to migrate up here.”

The robins were flying back and forth, high, low, across, from tree to tree and back. You could tell it was a pattern, but not what that pattern was. And they were all calling out.

“Wow, look at that, did you see that? One almost got creamed by a car, flying too low. I tell you, they’re young and inexperienced. My gosh, I’ve never seen so many at once. Look how many are in that tree!”

"Either they know something we don’t, or they were displaced,” I said.

 “Displaced. They’re really hungry. See how they’re swarming? They know they only have an hour before the sun goes down.” He pointed. “They don’t eat seeds, they eat bugs and worms. Look, they’re pecking the ground next to the buildings, because that’s the only place the snow has melted. They can’t get enough food. I wish I had a shovel.” He kicked some dirty snow. “It won’t melt by tomorrow.”

“No, it’ll just get a crust on top of the ice,” I said, and he agreed. “Damn.”

I went upstairs and brought back down my dustpan. We dug up snow around the bases of the trees and along a line of turf. John had the knowledge and the strategy. All we needed was the dustpan. Now hopefully the birds will stick around.


Slamdunk said...

Having the knowledge always helps.

We have not seen to many robins yet, but the little ones watched the cardinals and a downy woodpecker busy near a feeder at one of our favorite hiking trails.

The Observer said...

Ann T

We usually have a pretty good number of birds wintering over in KC. They were frantic after our Christmas eve snow; bird seed was a popular item in the stores. I hope the robins were out of town at that time. Everything was frozen for about 10 days!

The Observer

Bob G. said...

Wow...robins already?
(even yOUNG ones)...that is a bit early.

We still have crows (whenever some numbnut tosses half-eaten food out thier car window)...
But a shot from a CO2 pistol chases them straight away fast enough.

On my patio "feeder", we get Blue Jays, sparrows, wrens, junkos, cardinals, and mourning doves...sometimes all at once!

Whatta "floor show"...!

Once in a great while, we may get a woodpecker and some nuthatches.
Even had an Indigo Bunting last year...had to look that bugger up!

That ain't too bad a gathering for this former "big city boy" to see.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk, The Observer, and Bob G.,

Darn it, they left! We just didn't have enough worms. However, I'm still hoping we were instrumental in getting them where they wanted to go.

I'm looking up birds. I don't know some of these listed in y'all's comments. But I love watching them, trying to figure out how they decide who sits where on the telephone line.

Thanks for writing in!
Ann T.