Category Archives: robin

March 14, 2017

Yesterday we had a blizzard. Normally I wouldn’t write about a blizzard, but because it was so late in the year, March 14, I think it merits mention.

The fact that we had a blizzard a week before spring is notable in and of itself…and the fact that I had taken a robin under the wing (so to speak) added to the drama (at least in my mind). This robin showed up a few weeks ago. It had been unusually warm back then for that time of the year and the ground was starting to thaw. I saw the robin out on the lawn doing his little robin thing…running a few steps, turning his head and listening, over and over again. I didn’t give it much thought.

But then it got cold. Bitterly cold. The ground that was starting to thaw refroze and was hard as a rock. The robin was smart enough to not even bother with his running and listening routine. I would see him in the trees and wonder what he was eating. Then I thought “Maybe he’s not eating.” That did it, blueberries were on my shopping list.

So the next day I put some of the fresh blueberries on the ground near the big holly which would provide some protection. I watched and waited and after a while he showed up and ate them. Success! I fed him those blueberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day since then.

But then the blizzard arrived. I could have worried about losing power or having the big old pine tree blow over on the house or something fairly rational. But no, I’m worried about feeding the robin.

The snow started very early in the morning. I brushed a path out to the holly and deposited the berries. I watched from the window and saw him eating. But then the snow became heavier and the wind was howling. I didn’t think he had time to eat many berries before conditions deteriorated. And he didn’t get his usual lunch. At about 3 PM the snow let up and I shoveled a path to the holly and cleared an area. I didn’t see him or hear him. I put the berries down and watched from the window…no robin.

Then it started to rain and the rain switched back to snow.  It was now after 6 PM and I was sitting in my chair by the window in the den. I saw a movement out the window and turned my head and there appeared the robin on the sill knocking on the window. He had a frantic look on his face and panic in his eyes! I jumped up, grabbed the berries, and headed out the door.

A robin is rather an aloof type of bird. They do their own bird thing and really don’t pay attention to humans. In contrast, the chickadee is a very sociable little bird. He comes over to greet you and sing his little chick-a-dee-dee-dee to you. The catbird follows you around the yard, almost complaining that you are intruding on his personal domain. The hummingbird who comes every year shows up at either the window in the kitchen or den to tell me she’s here and thereafter when she needs more nectar.

I wondered how the robin knew I’d be at the den window? He must have been desperate to do something so out of character.

I put the blueberries down and watched from the window. It was getting dark and usually the robin would be bedded down for the night by now. No robin appeared.

I saw him early the next morning by the holly. I grabbed the berries and by the time I got outside he was singing up a storm. Things are back to normal. And normal is good.

March 14, 2017 snow:

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Photo of his berries:

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First Day of Spring: 2014

One of the main reasons for my starting this blog was to chronicle what was going on in the yard at different times of the year.  I began a year ago and my first post on the state of the great outdoors was on the first day of spring 2013.  I had mentioned that the daylilies and daffodils were poking their greenery up through the leaves in the flowers beds and commented that I’d have to get out there and start raking those beds very soon before the flowers emerged much further.

The first day of spring 2013, however, brought a surprise with it….we had some light snow overnight and the ground and trees glowed in the morning sunlight.  The snow didn’t last though, the ground was warm and the sun was strong and a day or so later that snow was gone and I did get out there and started cleaning out the flower beds.

Meteorological spring actually begins on March 1….March, April and May are the months that are considered spring.  But today, March 20, 2014, at 12:57 p.m. EDT, astronomical spring begins for those of us on the east coast of the United States.

On March 5th or so of this year, I took the following picture out my back door:

Out My Back Door March 2014

Out My Back Door March 2014

There was snow everywhere that was over a foot deep that was frozen in place my the bitterly cold temperatures that marked the winter of 2013/14.  The few resident robins had eaten every berry on every bush in the yard.  I felt so sorry for them, that I went to the store and bought some fresh blueberries and threw them out across the frozen tundra.  They rolled quite a bit and finally came to a stop, scattered here and there.  The first customer I had was the Hermit Thrush, or “Long Legs” as I call him.  He flew down, eyeballed one of those blueberries, stuck his beak in it, must have liked what he tasted, picked it up and flew away.  Soon after the robins did the same. 

The cardinals, tufted titmouse, nuthatch, white throats and assorted other birds sniffed around the berries but there were no takers.  I hadn’t fed the birds over this winter…let them go up the street to my neighbor’s house…she’s got feeders.  But now I felt guilty, so I bought some bird food and threw it out on that frozen snow.  The picture above shows a robin to the upper right, some mourning doves, a junko, and a squirrel with his rearend sticking up while he was digging in a hole in the snow.

"Chipper" Gathering Some Seeds

“Chipper” Gathering Some Seeds

Normally by early March, I would see a chipmunk or two scurring back and forth by my back door.  But I’ve never seen a chipmunk in the snow.  I guess the aroma of freshly thrown seeds enticed the little guy shown above out of his burrow.  I haven’t seen him since.

Gray Fox

Gray Fox

A night or two later, I had another visitor out by the back door… a gray fox.  I’ve seen red fox around here, but not a gray fox.  He, too, came to eat whatever remnants of seeds he could find.

I just went out the back door this morning (the first day of spring, mind you) and took the following photo…it shows the view to the right.

View to the Right of the Back Door

View to the Right of the Back Door

The snow near the house must still be about two and a half feet deep.  This is what remains of the snow that fell when using the roof rake.  There is a similar deep pile of snow all around the house.  What are those dark specks in the snow?  Could it be tiny pieces of the roof shingles that the rake brushed off along with the snow?

Front Bench First Day of Spring

Front Bench First Day of Spring

 At least the front bench is visible again but the ground is still completely covered.

On to a more enjoyable subject, baking!  I tried a recipe that I’ve had for many years but never made…this one for Irish Soda Bread (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day).

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

The sweet butter in this recipe makes this bread somewhat moist, not dry, like some soda breads.  It is marvelous.

My Mother's Handwritten Recipe

My Mother’s Handwritten Recipe

It looks like my mother got this recipe from the March 1995 issue of Gourmet magazine.wpid-20140318_160119.jpg

Although it is overcast and foggy this morning, the temperature here today should reach into the 50s.  That frozen snow can’t last much longer.  My posts will be more frequent now as the long, dark, frigid winter is behind us.  I feel like the chipmunk must feel, coming out of the dark for a breath of fresh air and a look around.  Is this miserable winter over with yet or what?  Okay, I know there is at least one of you reading this that loves winter with the long dark nights, snow, ice and frigid temperatures.  To each her own!