Monday, November 14, 2011

The secret life of the robins of November: False Prophet

Worm-hunting robin.  Oakwood Lake Township  Park  11/14/2011
photo by Jonathan Schechter

All second graders  and most of their moms and dads know that robins are the first bird of spring. And more than a few local newscasters will in breatheless enthusiasm report their presence once snow melts in late March  next spring.   The little kids and the newscasters are wrong.

Robins are false prophets of spring.
Some migrate south.
Many stay put right in Oakland County

Early this gray mid-November morning I hiked the woodland and wetland trails of Oakwood
 Lake Township Park, a lesser visted 300 acre wildland in Oxford Township in the northeastern corner of Oakland County.  The grassy berm at the entrance to the park  was rich with robins hopping about, ears cocked earthward, waiting for a worm to give away its location. Another
flock of robins was at the edge of the swamp feasting on late season berries.  In a few more
 weeks snow will cover the ground but the robins that are here now will stay.  We just see them
 less, because when snow covers the grass, robins retreat to thickets and swamplands and switch
to a berry diet. Some even dabble in seeds at your feeder.
  When snows melt robins return to your lawn and will once again be proclaimed the
first bird of spring as they slurp down entrees of  squishy worms. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any idea about why some migrate and others don't? Are there different subspecies of robins?

November 14, 2011 at 5:14 PM 

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