Every year our American Robins migrate south for the winter, and the next year I’m always pleased to see the first one of the year!
My hubby says that I’m easily surprised, and , really, they do re-appear every year, so why does it make me happy to see them?
I guess most of it is the knowledge that Spring is surely close behind, and Winter has gotten to be pretty miserable by this time of year. It’s also a reminder of the mysterious ways that the creatures we share the planet with continue to do what they do, ignoring people and getting ready for the renewal of Spring.
Robins are such a familiar sight here in the Appalachian mountains that most people don’t pay much attention to them. I’ve been fascinated with birds for many years, and love to watch them hop around in the grass searching for insects.
In looking for more information about our native Robins, I found some interesting facts. You may have noticed that if you’re our mowing your lawn, the local Robins will be darned close behind, looking for easy pickings in the bug population. They actually much prefer your lawn to be short and regularly mown, as it’s easier for them to capture their prey!
Another interesting study I read about showed a clear correlation between the Robins migrating out in the Fall and the rise in West Nile Virus in humans just after. Apparently the mosquitoes that carry the virus can’t feed on the birds and so switch to humans, speeding up the rate of infection in humans!
Here’s a funny Robin fact for you; a group of Robins is called a “worm”!
That warm reddish orange breast, cheerful song and their appearance when winter’s starting to lose ground to warmer weather makes them my early spring favorite. They’re a member of the thrush family, all of which seem to have pretty songs, and apparently only live for a couple of years in the wild. They have the prettiest sky-blue eggs, too…
And in case you didn’t realize it, the European settlers named our American Robin after the English Robin, who’s actually in the flycatcher family and acts nothing like ours!
Robins like to live in open woodlands and urban areas. In the Deep South, they’ll be found near big shade trees surrounded by lawns.
If you want Robins in your yard, make sure not to treat your lawn with insecticides – when you do that, you create a virtual ‘food desert’, and they’ll not bother to stay once they realize there’s nothing to eat there!