Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Robin Sings in Winter

Photo Credit: Audubon Magazine
It's the day after Christmas. I step outside to balance some thank-you notes in the mail slot in the half open 'man door' to our garage. I pause a moment to see if the forecast precipitation is coming down as rain or ice pellets. As I turn to go inside, something catches my ear. A robin is singing a full-blown song. What? A robin singing on the 26th of December, and the temperature is in the 20's?

Each year I track the last time I hear a robin sing in the fall, and then the first time I hear the song in the spring. So far this year, the latest robin song I heard was in early December.
Usually it's early March before I hear it again. In between, the robins from the far north that winter here, travel in flocks looking for juniper and holly berries. They cluck, but don't sing. During this time I long for that first song, heralding the earth's rebirth. You can hear the robin's song at this link..

I don't consider this an example of climate change, especially not this year. The weather has been cold this month. Not out of the norm, but on the colder side. We've already had shovelable amounts of snow, right on schedule.

So what is it that incites a robin to let loose with its happy warbling? One website says (about European robins) that a robin singing in winter is well fed. Maybe that's it. No matter that it's about to rain, snow, or ice, he or she is happy and thankful. There are plenty of berries to be had, many fellows to socialize with, and a safe place to roost until spring. Maybe, like the robin, we should be lifting our voices too, in thanks to the Almighty for our friends, our food, and our glowing firesides.