Saturday, April 5, 2008

The robins have returned

My favorite ordinary bird; my favorite out-of-the-ordinary bird is the peacock. The winter has been long, snowy, and cold, and even now the robins seem a bit timid in their singing, morning and evening. There is a startling moment every spring, when the robins begin to sing in the dark before dawn, and continue to give a last few skirls on the pipes so to speak, in the dark long after sunset. They lack their usual enthusiasm so far. Perhaps they are waiting for genuine warm weather. However, they are here in abundance this year. Hopping about on lawns and patrolling the roadside clearings in the nearby woods, they seem to have arrived by many more score than usual. Once they recover their nerve, they will sing enthusiastically until about mid-June or so. Then they quiet down, the breeding season finished. Once in a while, one unlucky specimen is actually swept across the north Atlantic to land bewildered in Britain, where its orange breast and cheery caroling causes great excitement among birders there. I do wish the scientific name was not Turdus migratorius.

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