Winter Robins

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.

Robin11Feb14#092Ec5x7ps

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.

Robin11Feb14#100Ec8x10ps

Robin11Feb14#090E2c8x10ps

Robin11Feb14#110Ec8x10ps

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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6 thoughts on “Winter Robins

  1. Great photos Nick. I had about 40 robins a week ago Sunday outside my window all day foraging for something on the lawn/field. They lifted my spirits in this long winter!!!!

  2. Nick, these are great Robin shots! They increasingly winter over here, and about three weeks ago, during a momentary lull in the bitter cold, there were dozens of them on our street, foraging for berries. Such a treat to see these signs of spring.

    • Thanks Babsje. Yes, many reports of large flocks of robins over the last few weeks. In addition to the plants I mentioned in the post, the persistent fruits of Staghorn Sumac and ornamental flowering crabapples are getting a lot of attention.

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