Date: 2/9/19 7:44 pm From: Kent <kentjohnson...> Subject: [MBBIRDS] Robin 'hood
Every year, about this time, my neighborhood becomes an overnight roosting site for American Robins. This year there are more than ever, which seems to be associated with large numbers of robins in the region overall. It is hard to estimate how many are here; it is at least several thousand, and it would not surprise me if there at ten times that. They start arriving about 4:00 pm and are mostly settled by about 5:30 pm. The leave fairly rapidly about 7:00 am in clear weather, but more slowly in rain or fog. Most seem to fly in from the north, but that is the only direction in which I have a good view so they may be gathering from other directions as well. Some evenings, especially if it is raining, some of the birds forage on the ground before finding their accommodation for the night. I try to search through them, hoping to spot some rarity from Siberia. No luck with that so far. In past years there have usually been a few Varied Thrushes mixed in with the robins, but this year I have not seen any. In past years there have also been a few percent of the birds with a white half-eyestripe. I have heard that is more common in northwestern populations, but I have seen very few of those birds this year. I have seen a few this year with the large white spots on the outer tail feathers that is more common in eastern populations. It all makes me wonder where they are actually coming from, how much it does vary from year-to-year, and why they are selecting my little neighborhood in which to roost. There is nothing obvious to attract them here. I will add one more thing about them: for the number of birds that are here, they leave remarkably little mess. Hooray for robins!