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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Community Comment

The arrival of the robins…

Good morning, Netizens...

Last week, the Virtual Ballroom was resounding with the huzzahs and exclamations as various residents crowded around the front window watching the arrival of a group of robins for what we believe is the first time since last fall. How do you describe a gathering of 15-20 robins? Are they a covey? Are they a flock? Since the use of the words flock or covey tends to imply an overlying presence of organization of some kind, I have come to call our recent arrivals a gathering.

Suffice it to say within minutes of their arrival, the male Robin Redbreasts had begun a most thorough examination of every bough and bush within a block in either direction, and you could see them flitting en mass from one location to the next looking at possible nesting sites. Robins don't mess around, once they have arrived, based upon our limited observations.

This morning, the crowds of robins have dissipated. Instead we see robins flying around gathering nesting materials and very high up in neighborhood trees, we see them knitting nests out of what materials have come to hand, all the while discussing their construction methods with their mates. (I am assuming that is what they are raucously discussing, based upon their building procedures. After the male robin has delivered another beak full of twigs and other miscellany suitable for next building, about one-fourth the time, after he departs in search of yet another load of construction materials, the female robin mysteriously dumps a small amount of the reject materials over the side, without so much as a sidelong glance.

Despite the amazement at watching the robins begin setting up housekeeping, a few minor issues bother us:

According to our unscientific calendar-watching, the robins are nearly a month earlier than in previous years. There is a theory that suggests that if the average temperature rises above 36 degrees they will come. Gee. Does that imply an early Spring this year?

The ground is still frozen hard as a hub cap on a Mercury Marquis in winter. What will they eat when they cannot listen for worms beneath the snow? Is it time to restock the bird feeders?

One nice advantage is the robins wasted little time in chasing away the pestilential crows and starlings that have raised such a raucous caucus all winter long.

Other than that, we are delighted with the antics of the robins. It suggest that, despite the calendar, perhaps the wretched winter snow is over.


Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.