Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The 42nd day of summer continues hot and sunny, Tuesday, July 31th, 2012. On day of the American Robin, we say goodbye to July and hello to 52 days of summer that remain to us. @danielmarquard

I've been waiting to write about the American Robin, waiting partly for a slow day and waiting until the Robins caught my eye with their actions. I saw last week a bird nest in the crook of an ornamental tree, the nest at eye level when I come down my porch staircase, the second floor landing. The crook often makes a good place for a robin's nest. The robins have had two and maybe three broods already, so this might be the pair's third nest this season. I'll have to keep closer watch on it to see if Robins still emerge. If the nest has gone abandoned, maybe I can slip it out of that crook and study it. Although, I wonder if a cowbird might come along and make use of it, or another opportunistic bird. Robins are one of the species that know to kick out cowbird eggs and to evict a cowbird nestling too. I guess there's no such a thing as an avian realtor. I have read the Great Horned Owl can reuse a Red Tail Hawk Nest.
I also was biking along a fence at the edge of the Knoll parking lot, and Robin after Robin popped out of the grass and onto the rail of a chain link fence to wait out my intrusion. The birds saw I was rolling east. Robins hunt in the grass for worms, early birds getting the worms, and in the evening, Robins flock on wires and sit in the boughs of dense forests. I was intruding on the after work socializing.
Speaking about socializing, Robins have a drinking problem involving the Pyracantha. The berries ferment on the stem and Robins pluck them off and fall down drunk while walking. I suppose the flight of a Robin becomes a bit loopy when a snockered Robin takes to the air. I guess if the Robins had cell phones, boy Robins would drunk dial. We shouldn't begrudge the Robin a bit of happiness. Only 25 percent of young Robins survive the first year. With good luck, a Robin can live for fourteen years. However, bird banding suggests that a Robin has a childhood year and then a breeding year and then winds up as meat for a hawk or house cat on the prowl.
We once made a big deal about the first Robin in Spring spotted in Michigan. The first Robin sighting has moved into February and even into January, moving earlier and earlier in time, much like a Republican primary. I wonder if the bird leaves Michigan for the winter anymore.
Robins are a reservoir for West Nile Virus, and that makes them a stepping stone in the chain to human infection. We can't kill all the mosquitoes or the Robins, so I guess we have to improve our methods for repelling mosquitoes. Mosquitoes feed fish and Robins have a continuous song bird watchers have learned to love. The Robin belongs with the thrushes, and there's nothing like a thrush singing on the threshold of ones home.
Photography Credits
English: American Robin -- Humber Bay Park (East) (Toronto, Canada) -- 2005Deutsch: Wanderdrossel

A newly hatched American robin among unhatched eggs in a nest in Charlotte, North Carolina. Unretouched photo taken by Daniel Marquard.


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