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BY5: Gluttony January 20, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Driving past the bluebird spot yesterday, I managed to find a pull-off and grab my binoculars. Although I’m pretty sure there was a bluebird or two in that thrushfest, the only ones sitting still enough for me to positively identify were American robins (bird #20).

I wasn’t seeing robins in January because of the weird winter weather we’re having. I was seeing robins in January because they are here all year. So when people get all excited about the robins “coming back” in the spring, I kinda roll my eyes a bit.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website backs me up: “Although robins are considered harbingers of spring, many American robins spend the whole winter in their breeding range. But because they spend more time roosting in trees and less time in your yard, you’re much less likely to see them. The number of robins present in the northern parts of the range varies each year with the local conditions.”

So maybe there are fewer robins about, but there are a lot of robins about, always. When it’s warm enough for worms, you’ll see the robins on the ground again.

The ones I was watching were in trees and bushes.

While reading about robins, though, the fact that caught my attention was this: “Robins eat a lot of fruit in fall and winter. When they eat honeysuckle berries exclusively, they sometimes become intoxicated.” I knew this happened to cedar waxwings eating overripe fermented berries, but I hadn’t made the robin connection. To our friend Cedar Waxwing, I ask: Aren’t you glad to know other species join you in this overindulgence?


1. Bridgett - January 20, 2012

We’ve always had overwintering robins. St. Louis, of course, doesn’t get as cold (never has, not just with climate changing). You’re right about the striding across the lawn being the true sign of spring. I have robins in my magnolia tree with the juncos and mourning doves, sitting still. No striding yet.

2. Dona - January 21, 2012

I didn’t realize that robins overwintered so far north. I don’t remember seeing them in the winter in Illinois, but perhaps they were just hiding out. I think of catbirds being the real harbingers of spring.

I’m so glad that Robins join we Cedar Waxwings in the occasional binge.

I love the names of my next door neighbors: Robin and Barry. I embarrass my family when I remark about the robins eating the berries next door.

indigo bunting - January 21, 2012

Oh, Mom. (I like it.)

3. Mali - January 21, 2012

I’m imagining being in a snowy land where robins and bluebirds fly.

indigo bunting - January 24, 2012

Stay long enough that we can hit the Danforth cafe scene in the spring.

4. Helen - January 24, 2012

My mother mentioned the other day that many of the robins didn’t leave this winter. Man, I wish you could have seen me pounce on that misconception and set her straight.

indigo bunting - January 24, 2012

You go!

5. Eulalia Cobb - January 30, 2012

You know how the weather suddenly got colder Sunday afternoon? I saw the birds mobbing the feeder while it was still 40F and thought, it’s going to get colder soon….

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