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April 16, 2018
What a tease.
Thursday temperatures were in the 60's (18-c.).
The Tree Swallows finally appeared, about 10 days later than average.
Friday evening I heard the Peepers.
Goldfinches feeding, a male and female.
Can you tell it is a windy day (Notice the head feathers bending to the left)?
Other signs of spring, Right?
Saturday and Sunday, much of the Great Lakes region is under a 'Winter Storm Warning', Blizzard Warning, or some kind of Advisory.
Saturday night into Sunday blessed us with a nice layer of freezing rain, covered with sleet, snow and more freezing rain.
Northern Michigan was dumped on as well.
In some places, with feet of snow.
The birds around here have been in a feeding frenzy.
You would think in was January, minus the Robins and a few other birds.
American Robins are one of my favorite birds, (I suppose I could say that about most birds if I waned to).
(Partial Albino Robin, three years running.)
Not only are Robins the state bird of Michigan, they are one of the harbingers of spring.
Even in a goofy year (weather wise), like we have been experiencing this year.
What I truly enjoy about Robins. is their parenting skills.
Experienced birds won't take any guff.
How many times have I been buzzed (even when hit in the noggin as a boy), checking a nest?
Robins will fiercely defend a nest, and their young.
You too may have witnessed robins chasing squirrels, Jays and predatory birds from the nest area.
While leaving others, like doves, cardinals, and finches to go about their business.
Even young fledglings are watched carefully.
American robins fill the air with song from pre dawn to dusk.
Filling our yards with bouncing activity.
Yes, American robins are indeed a special bird.
A member of the Thrush family, American robins are common birds across the continent.
It is estimated that more than 310 million robins call North America home, and about 80% of them spend all or part of their lives the United States
About 45% spend some time in Canada and 13% live in, or visit Mexico.
Truly a North American bird.
American robins are a species of bird that has benefited from humans and our habits.
Lawns, open fields, parks, and our gardens attract worm eating robins.
You will also find them in more wild places like woodlands, forests, mountains up to near treeline, recently burned forests, and tundra.
These truly wild robins are less friendly to people.
During winter many robins move to moist woods where berry-producing trees and shrubs are common.
American Robins eat large numbers of both invertebrates and fruit.
Especially in spring and summer, they eat large numbers of earthworms as well as insects and some snails.
(Notice the worm in her bill.)
Robins also eat an enormous variety of fruits, including chokecherries, hawthorn, dogwood, and sumac fruits, and juniper berries.
One study suggested that robins may try to round out their diet by selectively eating fruits that have bugs in them.
Many years the robins will appear and the snow will reappear as well.
You may see robins standing in the streets looking for food.
I will soak raisins in warm water, drain them a bit and offer the plump raisins in an area they will find.
Sometimes I will place them on a deck rail in a neat row and watch as a particular robin comes along.
Sure wish I knew if they really appreciate all we do for them.
Female robins choose the nest sites, which are typically on one or several horizontal branches hidden in or just below a layer of dense leaves.
Nests are typically in the lower half of a tree, although they can be built as high as the treetop.
American Robins also nest in gutters, eaves, on outdoor light fixtures, and other man made structures.
In western prairies, American robins may build their nests on the ground or in thickets, while in Alaska they sometimes nest on buildings or cliffs.
Females build the nest from the inside out, pressing dead grass and twigs into a cup shape using the wrist of one wing.
Other materials include paper, feathers, rootlets, or moss in addition to grass and twigs.
Once the cup is formed, she reinforces the nest using soft mud gathered from worm castings to make a heavy, sturdy nest.
She then lines the nest with fine dry grass.
The finished nest is 6-8 inches across and 3-6 inches high, (besides construction materials used to fill a crotch of a tree or intertwine with surrounding branches).
Clutch Size: 3-5 eggs
Number of Broods: 1-3 broods
Egg Length: 1.1-1.2 in (2.8-3 cm)
Egg Width: 0.8 in (2.1 cm)
Incubation Period: 12-14 days
Nestling Period: 13 days
Egg Description: Robin Egg Blue, often called the prettiest colored eggs in the bird world.
Condition at Hatching: Helpless at birth, mostly naked with spare whitish down.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
"Confidence on the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside".
This goes for everyone.
The Bible puts it something like this.
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men (and women), be strong".
1 Corinthians 16:13
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,
We borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb.
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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