Saturday, 15 January 2011

Today’s Bird Adventure

Elena takes one or two walks nearly every day. Located just a few yards from our door, is a creek that meanders through our sub-division. The city fathers in one of their rare moments of wisdom, created a marvelous green belt and trail along this creek that provides a 1.6 mile walk (yes, I have measured it) with trees, underbrush and thanks to “knapsack guy,” an abundance of wild flowers. (Knapsack guy will be the subject of another tale…later.)
We are experiencing a “cold snap,” a period of below freezing temperatures that has run on now for a few days. Elena soldiers on, with at least one walk a day. She bundles up looking a lot like Kenny from the TV show, South Park. Enough of the back story.
This morning, Elena rushed in from her walk. “Russ, get your camera and your butt out the door. The Robins are here!” Dutifully, I replied, “Yes Dear.” I donned my aviator leather coat and my Sherpa hat, with camera around my neck and off we went in lockstep. Sure enough, dozens of robins were swarming the underbrush for the berries now exposed after the leaf drop. What a sight, and such politeness. The robins would sit in the trees, with about six at a time dropping down to get some berries. Then they would return to the trees and six more would repeat the ritual. This went on and probably is still going on when we had to return home to warm up and get to our work.
In the midst of all of this activity, one lone cardinal, most probably thinking to himself, that this was his private winter smorgasbord and who were these interlopers gorging themselves at his expense. For us, the flash of red among all of this activity, made a wonderful photo op as you see here.
Another tidbit of useless knowledge… It is alleged that robins are non migratory. They follow a food chain based on ambient ground and air temperature. The magic number is 36 degrees. In winter, they forage for fruit, seeds and berries through latitudes offering temperatures at or above 36 degrees. Earthworms and bugs are available although not abundant above this temperature. This cold snap we are enduring most probably pushed these robins south for food. Hopefully, they will eat for a couple of days giving us additional photo opportunities.

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