Friday, February 19, 2010

First sign of spring - Friday's fascinations, facts, and folklore.

In Europe, the cuckoo call is considered the first sign of spring.  In the US, it is the reappearance of the American Robin.  American Robins are very hardy and can withstand cold and snowy weather so don't tend to migrate.  In the winter they switch to a diet heavy with berries and will only migrate if no food is available.  However, as the weather warms and insects and worms begin to show, robins are seen suddenly, as if they just returned from some warmer location.

Just over a week ago, the Robins "returned" to Birdland - and lots of them. They seemed to be eating the olives from the trees and on the lawn below and also looking for insects in the grass.....every morning there are over 50 of them, all very busy!  Welcome back Robins, even though you didn't go anywhere!

Are you seeing and hearing signs of spring yet where you live?


My Computer Tutor said...

Here in UK we've been seriously short of cuckoos for the last few years - not sure why. But first birdy-sign of Spring for me is the sound of the chiff-chaff, which I hear usually starting in March.

We've had lots of fieldfares coming to gardens - a record number, apparently. Usually they're shy and stay out in the fileds...hence the name! But our cold winter weather has driven them nearer to towns and gardens.

Love your photos of Robins. They reminded me of the redwings we also get here in winter, all the way from Iceland!

Ruth said...

Does the chiff chaff make a sound like his name? And I've never heard for fieldfares... I'll have to look them up. Good job they aren't coming to you yet, as they'd have to clear the snow first!

My Computer Tutor said...

Yes...chiff-chaff chiff-chaff. Easy to hear but difficult see as they are slim little warblers that hide up in the leaves.

You have phoebes don't you? Do they say fee-bee?

Ruth said...

Yes, pretty little black phoebes...singing "fee-bee"... My favorite bird-named-after-it's-song is the chickadee however. We used to hear them all the time in NH..."chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee"....