Monday, February 11, 2013

A "Plague" of Robins

Late last week, I commented on a post by Grizz at his Riverdaze... blog that American Robins (Turdus migratorius) had, so far, failed to strip the tiny fruits from the crabapple tree in the front of the Executive Director's residence as they usually do much earlier in the winter.  Well, the major winter storm that buried New England and New York only left three inches of snow here in the Pennypack Preserve, but it was enough to send the overwintering robins into a feeding frenzy.  As I shoveled the walks and drive on Saturday morning, hordes of robins descended on the crabapple tree and feasted.

Just a few of the dozens of American Robins gorging themselves on crabapples
Winter has been pretty mild so far this year, so the birds have found alternate sources of food in the thickets where they hide.  I suspect that crabapples don't have much fat content, so the overwintering berry eaters prefer other fattier fruits.  But winter's winding down now, and the birds have harvested much of the other available fruit; they must be becoming desperate.

My dependents eat even before I do (but I have admit I brewed coffee first)
A Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta candensis).  These northern visitors were more numerous at the beginning of winter, but a few have hung around all season.
A few more snowy images.  This was our first substantial snowfall of the season.

View down to the pond behind the Visitor Center
The old-field (Crabapple Meadow) near the entrance to the Trust's headquarters
The east end of the Executive Director's residence, added in 1833 to an existing 1791 house  

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