Friday, January 20, 2012

By The Hundreds

This is a map of American Robin sightings on Christmas day.
I didn't participate in this study, but I could have.
I haven't thought about Robins much since I moved from Missouri to Texas.

We don't see very many Robins in central Texas.
Even in the winter when our temperatures are more....temperate.
Robins are invertebrate (bugs, larvae and worms) and fruit/berry eaters.
We may see one or two as the winter progresses, but never more than that.

This year, something has changed.
We see hundreds of Robins every single day.
They fly over in large flocks.
They stop in large flocks.
My pasture is littered with red-breasted birds, hopping, eating, and calling.
But why?
Why this year and never before?
I've lived in central Texas for 23 years and never seen anything like it.

Could it be our unseasonably warm temperatures?
It makes sense, but research tells me otherwise.
It seems that most migratory birds aren't necessarily trying to escape cold temperatures, they are trying to find food.
That's why you'll find Robins in Central Park in January.
They can stand the cold, they just have to be able to find food.

But we've always had food.
Despite our horrid summer, many of the bushes/trees in our area put on berries. My pyracantha and hollys are full of berries.
Normally, the Cedar Waxwings will come through and strip a bush in a day or so.
That can't be it.

I'm thinking it's the bugs.
The Robins have spent their time in my pasture and not my berried bushes.
We've gotten a few inches of rain in the last 2 months and had crazy warm temperatures.
Those two things rarely happen at the same time during our winters (rain and warm).
The bugs seem to think it's springtime.

In fact, most every plant and animal is confused.
The bluebirds are checking out the bluebird house.
The chickens are laying again.
A few trees have started to bud.
There are more than my fair share of flies in the house.
The grass is beginning to green up a bit.

Unfortunately, one hard cold front and all those things will change.
I always feel so sorry for the animals.
It must be so confusing.

Folks always talk about the weather.
Always have.
Around here, folks are wondering if our incredibly warm winter is a precursor to another summer of triple digit temperatures.

In any case, I've enjoyed seeing a bird I loved as a child.
I'd forgotten how sassy and funny they can be.
At least this weather is benefiting the birds.
For now.


  1. We have not seen any yet but here they are the first sign of spring.
    We have a light dusting of snow falling today but not even 1" yet...this winter is strange...

  2. We won't see Robins in Alabama until late March. I look for them. I know when they arrive our cold weather is almost over.

  3. Won't see any robins here (Wisconsin) until Spring arrives. They would freeze their little feet off around here right now.

  4. It's funny...the cold caused a water main break a few houses down from me...there were a ton of robins taking a bath in the water as it ran...cold enough to break the pipes and then warm enough right afterwards for the robins to be about and bathing...weird!

  5. How strange! I always think nature has a way of 'knowing' what to do for the land. On the other hand...I pray that you are NOT going to have more of that horrible weather of last year!