After a month of bitterly cold weather and tonight’s forecast predicting more of the same, I have to post something that says “spring is on its way”!!! What better topic than a traditional harbinger of spring, the American Robin.
I walked a mile of trail today in snowshoes in order to pack the deep, fluffy snow underfoot and make trail walking a bit easier for me and my 15 -inch-tall canine companion. On the return trip, I stumbled into 15 or 20 robins foraging in a dense thicket of shrubs and small trees. They were feeding on the berries of a small, shrubby tree, Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus carthartica), and a vine, Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora). Both of these woody plants are exotic and considered to be invasive, but their persistent fruits are eaten by a variety of birds and mammals in winter. Deer, squirrels, grouse, turkeys, robins, and cedar waxwings all include these items in their winter diet.
Here is my attempt to capture the process of robins feeding on Buckthorn fruit, fluttering somewhat clumsily from one cluster of berries to another amid the branches.
Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.