Monday, March 4, 2013

The Robin Tree: A place of intoxication.

American Robin: Bald Mountain State Recreation Area/ March 3rd, 2013 
photos by Jonathan Schechter

   Robins do not herald the arrival of spring.
And sometimes they are drunk.
(Look closely at the eyes of the robin above)

Contrary to popular myth fueled by media madness proclaiming robins as "the first bird of spring", 
many robins in Oakland County (perhaps most) over-wintered among the shrubs, swales and 
sheltered areas of our diverse county, a landscape mosaic rich with food and excellent habitat. 

And as the winter passes they quite by accident sometimes get drunk. 

During winter  months these omnivorous birds feast on dried berries and fruits.  
AFTER spring thaw when worms come to the surface in suburban lawns they revert back
 their preferred foods of juicy worms; and that's when media goes mad reporting robin sightings.  
But here is fact you may not know, robins (cedar waxwings and other species too) will sometimes 
become more than  a bit tipsy and  appear woozy from feasting on fermented berries. 
 A harmless endeavour for them unless one  tumbles out of a tree and becomes cat chow.

A few days ago I hiked the Graham Lake Trail of the Bald Mountain State 
Recreation Area where I came upon what a fellow hiker dubbed The Robin Tree. 
A half dozen robins feasted on bittersweet berries and seemed to sway in the breeze.
I felt like telling the robins to lay off the berries and sober up; worm slurping time is near!

  woozy robin
sleepy robin
The "empties" of the bittersweet berries littered the ground.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the main mechanism for the spreading of the invasive vine, Asian Bittersweet. It should be noted that homeowners ought not purchase bittersweet for their home decor and gardening -- birds will feast on the berries and only make our large bittersweet problem worse!

Nice article, Jonathon!

March 5, 2013 at 9:44 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your article. Very amusing and enlightening. Please recommend appropriate red berry shrubs to attract birds and enhance our yards.

March 5, 2013 at 9:58 AM 
Blogger Jonathan Schechter said...

Thanks Heather! And Lauren there are many excellent bird attracting shrubs that are not invasive. Attached is a link with a slide show. (hope it opens) If not just use Google and do a search on shrubs for birds etc! Good luck,


March 5, 2013 at 12:53 PM 

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