Friday, February 09, 2007

Robin Bluebreast

The majesty of the natural world is quite mind boggling, and one gets the impression that it is a thing of clocklike precision and perfection... but then there are the robins. They seem to have made a slight miscalculation this year; the robins came north during our unseasonably warm January, which had been the third warmest since records have been kept, and they are now stuck in the middle of what is so far the third coldest February in recorded weather history. It's not just here in our little corner of the woods that this has happened; everyone in Iowa is shaking their head about these birds, and I read reports from the eastern part of the country wondering about the same phenomenon. They mope about in flocks, not quite knowing what to do, looking at each other for someone to blame for being here. Fruit and berries in the woods are getting hard to find, and with temperatures below zero every night, I worry about their survival... robin redbreast may become robin bluebreast. Yesterday I was out by the ravine that runs next to our house, and there was a single robin, looking about disconsolately at the snow, trying to keep his feathers ruffled to stay warm, with a wind chill of close to twenty below. I went into the house and rummaged around in the pantry, and came up with a bag of dried cranberries, which I took out and sprinkled on the brick walkway. I didn't have high hopes the robin would come out of the ravine and find the berries, but I was hardly back in the house when he had fluttered down and was hopping along the walk, pecking up the sweet fruit.
The robin didn't quite get all of the cranberries, though; our little white and tabby cat has quite an unusual palate (she keeps the house free of boxelder bugs by eating them all), and later when I looked back outside she was out there, nonchalantly ambling down the walk, eating the berries that were left. Between the deer, the birds, and all of our other wild and domestic critters, it's no wonder our food bill is so high!

Haven't seen a robin here, but I sure wish I had me a bug eatin' cat!!
Sissy... P.J. is an odd little cat; you'd think boxelder bugs would taste awful, but she eats every one she finds... kind of fond of June bugs, too.
We have some robins still hanging around here in Kentucky too. I do wonder what they find to eat or if they will survive.

I am new to your blog and I love your posts and pictures! I can't wait to follow along with you this spring. Looking back at your past posts, I'm glad to see that among all of those beautiful flower pictures, you've included some insects too! I thought I was the only crazy gardener who pauses to photograph the resident bugs! :)
Marc... glad you like the blog; last year I was really pretty lax in taking pictures; hopefully I'll do better this year, but sometimes I just get way too many irons in the fire.
I thought of this post yesterday... our local news stations were talking about the plight of the robins, and suggested that we put out diced apples along with fresh water for them. So far I've had no hits on the apples--but then, I think they're probably covered with snow. :(
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