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Gardening For Wildlife, Issue #010 Spring and Europe's Robin
April 02, 2007

A huge and blessed good afternoon to you.

I still manage to take the fur kids for walks most evenings.

The March winds blow around some leafs from last fall.

Not to worry though, because Keet manages to kill off everyone that blows near us.

Yep, I feel safe when I walk the dogs :-)

After a rather nice March weather wise, early April promises to be anything but Spring like.

Temperatures later this week are forecast for the 30's and low 20's at night.

And dare I say it?

That four letter word is mentioned in for later this week.

You know, that cold white stuff.

Lawns and gardens become more workable as the days grow longer and the soil dry's some.

Remember, be careful not to pack the soil to much and when you are cleaning your gardens....................................

Keep a fare share of leaf and twig litter for the wildlife in your yard and surrounding areas.

That is one thing nice about wildlife gardening,

A lot less work is involved when we garden for nature and not neighbors.

Don't thatch your lawn in the spring.

If thatching needs to be done, it is a fall project.

Raking now will harm new growth, roots, rhizomes and stolens.

Do you notice how some birds are becoming more aggressive?

The Canada geese are showing off war dances and mating wooing.

Resident birds like cardinals and woodpeckers have established territories and chase off any wanna be land grabbers.

The lady red-winged blackbirds and American robins are arriving here in Michigan.

The past couple of weeks, had the male birds singing a joyful chorus.

Tunes that are music to our ears, yet a warning for other males.

Singing to you and me, but letting others know, this is my claim and stay away.

When trespassing occurs, it is generally a shouting match with wings flapping.

Rarely does a bird get hurt and rarely does the interloper win rights to the territory.

Now when the ladies arrive,

It's Show Time.

All that male testosterone, growing stronger everyday.

You know how it is.

Us guys making fools of ourselves.

Singing, courting and showing off.

Chasing a gal until she manages to catch us.

Listen up guys,

It's a woman's world and they know it.

Birds that mate for life like mourning doves and chickadees,


The guys still do all the wooing and cooing.

Does that sound familiar? :-)

I digress.

American robins (Turdus migratorius) got their name from the first European settlers.

Lonesome for home, this bird was a welcome sight.

Though twice the size of the European robin,(Erithacus rubecula) the red/orange breast of T. migratorius was enough to remind the pilgrims of home.

American robin to your left and Europe's robin to your right.

The robin is undoubtedly one of Britain's most dearly loved birds (and they love their birds. More than 50% of British households feed and care for wild birds).

A small bird about 5 and 1/2 inches long (American robin is 10 to 11 inches long).

It was once classified in the thrush family (American robins are in the Thrush family), but is now considered to belong to the Old World flycatcher family (Muscicapidae).

European Robins and similar small European species are often called chats.

It is instantly recognizable due to the rusty-red breast.

"Robin redbreast" and simply "redbreast" are well-known alternative names.

The sexes are very similar, but juveniles lack the red breast and are mottled with browns and buffs.

The robin is one of the few birds to sing throughout the winter; its melodious, song feature that has endeared this species to the public.

It is widely distributed throughout Britain, with the exception of islands and the higher hills of Scotland.

It also occurs throughout much of Europe, reaching as far east as central Siberia, as well as parts of North Africa and Turkey.

There is no shortage of this little bird.

Habitats, typically requires the presence of both dense vegetation and open areas. It breeds in woodlands, gardens, forest edges, parks and even in the cities.

Much like the American robin.

Although the European robin has been recorded feeding on a very wide range of food, the majority of the diet consists of worms, soft fruit and seeds (hmmm).

As most of the food is taken from the ground, snowfall can cause huge numbers of deaths.

European robins are very territorial birds throughout the year; in winter both males and females defend their own territory, and males often hold the same territory throughout their lives

Territories are defended by means of singing from a prominent perch, and by aggressively driving intruders away.

Boy, that sounds familiar.

During the breeding season, a female is allowed into a male's territory, where she makes the cup-shaped nest of dead leaves and moss with a lining of hair.

The nest is often located in unusual places, such as in old teapots, jacket pockets, and on shelves in buildings, as well as in more "natural" locations amongst ivy.

After the end of March, between 4 and 6 white or faintly bluish, speckled eggs are laid and incubated by the female for up to 15 days.

After hatching the young are fed by mom on items of food brought to the nest pops.

Two broods are usually produced each year, although a pair may occasionally go on to rear a third.

Not surprisingly, there is much folklore surrounding the robin, and it has featured in many poems and fables.

In Britain the robin is closely associated with Christmas (much like cardinals and chickadees are for us).

The first postmen wore bright red waistcoats, and were popularly known as "Robins."

Well, not really a tale of two birds, but it was nice to share some about a European bird.

We do have a reader or two from Great Britain and they may be surprised to see a picture of an American robin.

Much like the European counterpart, the robins over here cover almost all of North America during breeding season.

I don't have a tally on Europe's robin, but there isn't a conservation worry so I assume the numbers are strong.

The American robin is considered one of the most, if not the most common bird (number wise and range) In North America.

No matter what, we all love our birds and will continue to offer food and gardens for our feathered friends.

I did manage to get one page finished for the web-site. Shrubs in the for the wildlife garden

Hopefully I add more shrub pages and add a section on butterflies real soon.


It's time to fly for now.

As always, have a blessed week.

Be sure to share your smiles.

Enjoy the wonders around you and take a moment to thank our "Creator."

He is wonderful!

Until next time,

"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,

Ron Patterson

PS. Please forward this onto friends, family and co-workers.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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