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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Flock of Robins

I was treated to a wonderful moment this afternoon as I headed out on my bike for a little exercise in the warm winter sun. Riding down the path next to our local golf course I noticed several brightly bosomed birds winging about between the fruitless pear trees that lined the path. I slowed to a stop in order to memorize markings, already anxious to be home and looking them up in the field guide we keep in the living room. Much to my amazement the more I looked the more birds appeared, and then I realized it must be a migratory group. I was confused because they looked too skinny to be Robins, and many had a band of white and black speckles on their lower breast. As I rode away the sky filled with birds; a hundred or more rusty smudges lifting from dozens of trees and dotting the blue sky as they flew away to the east. Apparently an announcement had spread through the flock; although the boughs of the privet trees bent low, heavy with the weight of ripening berries, they were not yet ripe enough to host them a feast. Once home I deduced that indeed they must have been Robins, but with a preponderance of juveniles (explaining the speckled breasts) which I was not used to seeing. I am now excited because out of the plethora of privet trees that were planted in our suburban neighborhood 25 years ago, two of them stand in my backyard. Today the robins were a reminder that very soon the Cedar Waxwings will arrive, descending in droves to decorate my trees with their bright colours as they strip the branches of their dark purple berries. I try to imagine Kaylee’s curiosity as we sit on the patio, her in my lap, watching hundreds of little feathered friends flutter about; it will be a fun couple of days.

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