Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

The Cold Is Back — But So Are the Robins March 11, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Birds,Seasons,Spring,Water,Winter — saltthesandbox @ 1:23 pm
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It was 19 degrees Fahrenheit and windy on this morning’s walk through Columbus Park. Despite the wind chill, I enjoyed both the patterns in the ice and the scores of Robins feeding on the golf course.

The most interesting ice formed at the edges of golf course puddles:

The surface water froze as the water below slowly soaked into the soil.

The surface water froze as the water below slowly soaked into the soil.

I saw at least 80 Robins, almost three times what we saw on Sunday.


Eight American Robins in the foreground, with white Gulls and a black Crow on the golf course behind them.

Most Robins fed on the golf course, on the east sides of wooded areas. There the early morning sun warmed them while trees sheltered them from cold west winds.

Tuesday’s warm front brought the Robins to the Park and filled the puddles. As usual, a cold front followed — its bitter winds froze the puddles and the soil. If the Robins can’t find worms, they’ll probably switch to fruit, their winter food. That’s why we put out raisins for our backyard Robins.

To read about other birds we’ve been seeing in the Park, go to this page.

To read about whether Robins are a reliable sign of spring, go to this page.


Nature Note added at 6:15 p.m. the same day: Late this afternoon I watched as our backyard Robin pulled a huge nightcrawler from the soil below the thistle feeders. It was so big he had trouble eating it. I guess I won’t have to worry about that Robin, despite the freezing temperatures.

Nature Note added at 6:50 a.m. the next day: It was 16 degrees this morning. When I saw a Robin in a tree near our yard, I did worry. So I put out more raisins.

Nature Note added on March 28 (more than 2 weeks later): This past week there have been even more Robins in the neighborhood. On Friday, March 27, I found at least 200 Robins in Columbus Park, mostly on the golf course. On Tuesday, March 25, I counted 136 Robins on a 2.5 mile walk through south Oak Park.


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