I’m not thrilled with change in some areas while others like experimenting with new recipes and foods excites me. BUT I’m not real happy about the change I have observed in the life and travels of the American Robin. Known to me growing up as Robin Redbreast, I, like thousands of other New Englanders anxiously and eagerly awaited the first sighting of a Robin in the waning months of Winter and those of an early Spring. In fact, as I’ve written in this blog previously, spotting a Robin was certainly the sign that Spring was here!
Sometimes you might spot one standing between small patches of leftover snow in the yard while it pecked into the semi-frozen ground. It’s really hared to describe the euphoric feeling one felt when seeing that large bird with the plump reddish breast in your yard or along the side of the road. Some winters in New England could be very long and very gray.
“All my life’s a circle” sang Harry Chapin and of course, he wasn’t wrong. All of life is part circle and part cycle. When you live in area where the seasons are clearly defined, the impending signs of those seasons take on a special meaning. Like noticing all of sudden that the sun is lower in the sky and some of your neighbors have put corn stalks and gourds around their lamp posts – Fall is here and Halloween on its way. And all the fruit and vegetable stands and grocery stores have large displays of gourds and the local supermarket ads are advertising the price per pound of turkey. You come to rely upon those signs, you are used to them, they are part of the cycles of your year, your life.
Of course if you live in an urban area as I do now, there are also signs of the season to come. Department stores and shops display fall clothing before Labor Day, Christmas ornaments the day after Halloween and winter clothing by Columbus Day and Spring clothes while the temperature is still below freezing. The problem with these harbingers is that they are always so early, you begin to wonder if you’re living on a different planet than the stores that are displaying them. It’s unnatural and a product of man-made capitalism.
That’s why I am unsettled by the appearance of Robins in January and February. I believe their presence is more a result of man rather than nature. I know from articles I’ve read, that people have stated they see Robins all year long; I just never have until the last couple of years. Is it climate change? Or is it because I now live in a Mid-Atlantic state and it’s warmer all year long than in New England? The climate clearly has changed since I was a kid growing up in Connecticut; Winters were full of snow and days of sledding and snow ball fights. Spring arrived with warm, not hot weather and windy days afforded lots of kite flying. Summer was sultry but not so humid that you never wanted to leave an air-conditioned house and by the way, who had an air-conditioned house in the 50′s?
Robins are beautiful birds so I guess I should’t complain or question why they are here now. Murray has taken quite a few photos of these lovely feathered creatures and I want to share them with you.
Photos courtesy of Murray Head
- Robin redbreast (nickylinzey.blogspot.com)
- Foretaste of spring (michaelqpowell.wordpress.com)
- The redbreast (casaledellevrieroeng.wordpress.com)