We’ve been giving out raisins to robins in our yard for years. One of the super neat things about doing this is, occasionally, the parents bring the kids by for raisins!
Our neighbor has a robin’s nest on his house near a security light. Every time the parents go to or from the nest, the light comes on. Lately, the light has been coming on a lot, which means hungry babies growing fast! This afternoon, I got to see my first fledgling of the spring sitting in our maple tree.
My flat top robin friend stopped by this morning. He has been nesting in or near our yard and visiting off and on during the fall and winter for a little over four years. I was so flattered that he landed right in front of me when I was outside this morning. He was doing a lot of talking and I thought, as we humans do, it was all about me. I went back inside to get my camera. When I came out, there were robins everywhere (and a flicker). I think all the talking my robin friend was doing was calling his buddies to come for the raisins and fresh water. Robin party! Click on pictures to enlarge.
I hope this little one had a safe night. I saw him yesterday hopping around. He cannot fly yet. I waited for about thirty minutes and never saw a parent check on him. He was in front of a lot of bushes I have let go wild so animals can have some cover. I did not want to scare him too much for fear he would hide and miss getting fed by a parent, so I waited. After another thirty minutes, I tried to feed him, but could not get close enough. I always go back and forth on whether to intervene; I do not want to “kidnap” a little one if the parents are around. After two hours, he was losing his little voice and I was getting worried. I decided to go out and throw a few raisins around hoping a parent would come and notice him. I imagine he just strayed too far from the rest of the family. Sure enough, a parent came soaring in and stuffed him full of raisins. He then led him away to some trees at the back of the yard. Click on picture to enlarge.
Robins are kind of mystery. Sometimes they migrate and sometimes they do not. In my winter observations here in Lawrence, I will sometimes not see any in town, but see large groups out at the lake. They are kind of nomadic in the winter. They do not eat birdseed, but go where the winter berries are, and according to my bird books, stay until the berries are gone. My lone robin friend was outside for raisins about every day last week. I worried about him when the temperature dropped and took raisins out to him every time he appeared at the window. Yes! He knows to hang out on the feeder pole on the patio to get my attention. He even comes up by the car when I pull in the driveway or open the garage. I totally believe we communicate on some level. I should say, I know we communicate. The first day of the extreme cold, he was still coming, but did not seem to be doing too well. He seemed lethargic and I saw him kind of stagger under the brush pile we have in the backyard (for the purpose of cover and warmth for neighborhood wildlife). The next morning, when it was three below, he was nowhere around and I was sure he did not make it. This morning, there he was, on the patio waiting for raisins. I saw him one more time a little later on a tree in the front of the house, with a lady robin. When it started snowing, they were gone and I have not seen them since. I am fascinated by where he goes that he is gone a day or two, then back again looking great. My theory is he goes with the group when getting unfrozen water is difficult. Otherwise, he is here ready for raisins and ready to take up his territory for spring.
I did not have my camera with me the last time I saw him, but this one is from one early morning a couple of weeks ago.
Robins seem to be everywhere right now. They are kind of nomadic in the winter, going where the food is, and leaving when it is gone. I think some have been caught in the weather swings we have been having here in northeast Kansas lately. This has been a pretty cold week and we have freezing rain on the way, so they may have some difficulty over the next few days. I am loaded up with raisins for the robins who are still around the neighborhood tomorrow. Click on pictures to enlarge.
On February 6, there was snow on the ground and I was handing our raisins.
On February 8, it was warm enough to find earthworms. That’s Kansas!
Click on pictures to enlarge.
Sitting in the backyard is so much better than television! Click on pictures to enlarge.
And, don’t forget the mammals.
I haven’t been to the Wakarusa Wetlands in about a month. At this time of year, that means a lot of change. I got out there a little late this morning to stay long (just too hot), but I did manage to see some young ones–a bunny, tree swallow, robin, and a yellow-crowned night heron! Click on pictures to enlarge.
Adults are starting to bring their babies around and I am loving watching the robins stuff as many raisins in their mouths as they can to distribute among the young ones. I was thinking this morning that perhaps one of the reasons few people really experience the birds around them is it takes a lot of time before birds become comfortable enough with a human to get close. I have robins coming up to me on the patio for raisins, but that did not happen overnight (I started handing out raisins during our awful extended winter). They are leery of humans, as they should be. Generally, when I sit outside to watch, I need to be in my “sit spot” for about an hour before they get comfortable enough with my presence to hangout nearby. I realize my own privilege in being able to make time to do this. Time outside being still and quiet, watching everything, is immensely good for my soul. Click on pictures to enlarge.