Robins: Harbingers of Spring or Winged Nuisances?

by on March 2, 2008
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The dog’s been barking non-stop, the cars are splashed with lumpy purple and white gunk, and the cats are afraid–yes afraid–to go outside. Is it the invasion of the body snatchers? No, it’s the return of the robins.

They’re everywhere. Drawn by the berries in the huge hackberry tree in the front yard, they’ve descended by the hundreds to eat our berries and drink from our birdbath. When they’re not drinking, they’re chirping and driving our dog crazy. But no matter whether they’re eating, drinking, or chirping, they poop; huge portions of our driveway are stained purple with their droppings. And despite the springlike weather, the cats cower in the doorway. They’re vastly outnumbered, and that terrifies them.

Still, I’m coming down on the Harbingers of Spring side of the question. I’ve loved watching them from the kitchen window as they share the water in the birdbath just outside, leaves still floating in it because the robins came earlier than I expected this year. They come and go, sometimes 5 or 6 of them at a time, often chatting to each other. Here’s a little sample of their socializing:

“I’m glad we could finally get together for a drink.”

“Look, I told you, I’m seeing other birds!”

“Too complicated for me!”

After taking hundreds of cloudy photos from the kitchen window (which, truth be told, hadn’t been cleaned since before the birdbath was), I ventured out onto the front porch one morning, still in my bathrobe (my neighbors think I’m nuts) to take a few shots of the robins in the hackberry tree. Surprisingly, neither my presence nor that of my cowardly cats caused them any fear at all. They completely ignored us as they went about their birdly business…


…thinking deep bird thoughts…


…and scouting around for other trees to plunder.

In addition to bringing some beautiful weather, the robins seem to have brought a flock of mystery birds with them–or at least they’re mysterious to me because I’ve never seen them before, at least not close enough to get a good luck at them:

mystery bird

If anyone recognizes this beautiful bird, please let me know its name. “Pretty tufted yellow and red tipped bird” is a little tedious to say. We’ve had dozens of these cuties hanging out with the robins. I think they’re fairly young–once I saw one open its mouth and try to get a robin to feed it! I’d love to know what they are and where they came from.

Thanks for letting me share my bird thoughts with you. I’ll be back to share a recipe with you soon, but I’ve got a couple of cars to wash first.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous March 8, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Nice blog, bookmarked!


2 terri August 29, 2010 at 11:37 am

do you know if robins eat pears or peaches:?


3 Kathy April 15, 2011 at 8:58 pm

I enjoyed your robin pictures! The other pretty birds are cedar wax wings.


4 Shirley April 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm

How bizarre is it that your Robins bear little resemblance to the Robins we get in the UK? Ours are small plump birds and are generally solitary and territorial yet make great friends with gardeners as they wait for them to turn over the soil and reveal nice plump worms.


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