Monday, March 24, 2008

When the Red, Red Robin Comes…

Can you see the robin sitting in the sumac? He's almost the same colour as the berries. Saturday morning, out on errands with my husband, I spotted a flock of perhaps ten robins (Turdus migratorius) sitting in and under some staghorn sumacs (Rhus typhina). They were chomping down on last year’s fruit.

My husband stopped the car but as soon as I stepped out, the birds flew off - story of my life. But hey! We waited and after a few minutes, the birds came back. They must have been very hungry. (Or maybe birds don't have taste buds? Sumac berries are tart! I know because I've made a lemonade-like drink from them in late summer.)

People say a few robins stick around southern Ontario all winter, but I don’t recall seeing them during the coldest months. So when I DO see them in March I get pretty excited.
These were not the first I've seen this year, though. Last week, another small flock visited our apple trees to feast on a few mushy apples still hanging from the limbs. I rushed out with my camera, but the snow was still deep so I couldn’t get close enough to take a decent photo.

But the little guy under the sumacs in the photo above was cooperative...and very photogenic.

Usually a robin pair or two summer in my gardens, and that’s a very good thing! All summer long they help me battle grubs, caterpillars and beetles. Ha! They also fight me for the red currants, Saskatoon berries and raspberries. Hmmmm. They get ALL of the Saskatoon berries, but I usually get my share of the red currents and raspberries. I guess it’s their pay for eating some garden pests. ;-)

I can hardly wait to see where they’ll build their nests this year in my yard!


Anonymous said...

Very nice photos of what Robins do best. LOL

Here, where I live in SW Ohio, they one Robin will often claim a crab apple tree on which still clinging to frozen branches is last year's freeze dried fruit. They eat them and guard the tree. It is much like your photo shows with the sumach.

Have a nice week.

Abraham Lincoln in Brookville, Ohio

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Small City Scenes said...

Great pictures. I am glad the Robins stayed so you could take your pics. So many signs of Spring. YAY!!

Tom said...

It's always a pleasure comparing our native birds and others.. I see these Robins of your on many blogs now. A while back I thought all Robins were like our small chubby ones we see on Christmas cards. I sure like your Robins and these pictures are great.

Arr Cee said...

Cool pics, I never realised that there was a bird called a Robin in North America. We have a robin here, but it is (by the looks of things) smaller, and more finch-like.

Outhouse Capital of Canada said...

Our robins go away for winter and have just returned, saw 2 of them a few days ago.
We have a Rowan tree with berries that they go after but havnt seen them attacking them yet.
I think the latin name may mean 'they poop when they fly'

Outhouse Capital of Canada said...

Being English transplanted to Canada, I know that the American Robin and the English Robin are different spieces of birds. I suppose an emigrant many years back named the bird after the old world bird.

Anonymous said...

I really like seeing the contrast of the robin next to the sumac -- he almost looks brown in comparison! Both of these are very nice. I love when they return here every year, it is a true signal that Spring has arrived -- but they stayed well into January, for some reason. So I'm not sure when they will return this time.

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.