winter flock

this afternoon, i was walking across campus when i suddenly noticed a robin in a nearby tree. we’ve been experiencing crazy amounts of snow (and sub-zero temperatures) lately, and there are snowbanks that resemble rock-solid icebergs all over the place, so the robin definitely surprised me. i pointed him out to the person walking with me, and we stopped to wonder at him a bit. suddenly we noticed that he wasn’t alone–there were three other robins in the same snow-covered berry tree. they were flitting around a bit, eating, and as we stood still watching them, we realized that there were a couple more robins in a nearby bush. then one flew over from across the street, and another. i looked across and saw three or four high up in a tree. there were probably at least a dozen robins around us, and you practically could have knocked me over with a feather. honestly, words cannot describe how grotesquely wintry it is right now. freezing cold, icy sidewalks, snow all over everything, the whole deal. a flock of robins with their cute orange tummies was such a shocker!

as we were talking about how crazy it was, i suddenly remembered the other campus robin–the one i heard singing at night, in a snowstorm, on december 4th. i’m willing to bet she’s in this little gang, since i heard her only a block or two away from where we saw this bunch today.

this time i decided i should probably hit up the google, because i really didn’t know that robins stuck around for winter. i’ve lived here practically all my life and we always go through the whole hooray! first robin  of spring! ritual. anyhow, the google did not disappoint. it seems that while many robins do fly south in autumn, there are a few who hang out in the snowy areas. evidently robins have crazy-high body temps, and if they find a spot where they can eat oodles of berries, they’re all good for the duration. i never knew that!

i’m totally keeping my eyes peeled from now on. i love robins. my only regret is that i didn’t have my camera today–i could have gotten some really good shots.

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3 comments

  1. OK, one more comment — I like to remind myself that nature does not evolve into suffering. That is to say, nature evolves into sufficiency, if not pleasure, so a scenario that looks grim to us as humans (say, a grotesquely wintry landscape) — is enjoyable and occasionally abundant for an animal that has adapted to it. I think waxwings (cedar or Bohemian) and cardinals are other examples of this.

  2. OK, one more comment — I like to remind myself that nature does not evolve into suffering. That is to say, nature evolves into sufficiency, if not pleasure, so a scenario that looks grim to us as humans (say, a grotesquely wintry landscape) — is enjoyable and occasionally abundant for an animal that has adapted to it. I think waxwings (cedar or Bohemian) and cardinals are other examples of this.

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