Don’t count on robins for weather reports

Don't count on robins for weather reports
The north wind doth blow

And we shall have snow

And what will poor robin do then?

Poor thing!

I'll tell you what the dumb bird should have done. He should have gone south with the rest of his feathered buddies.

Robins have always been a symbol of springtime. We used to wait until the first redbreast showed up before we got the marbles out. We even had contests to determine who saw the first one, like betting on when the ice would go out in the Missouri.

Now the idiotic bird hangs around while blizzards howl and drifts pile up. Somebody should tell him (or her) to flock up and fly to warmer climes when temperatures drop.

Robins eat worms (Yuk!), but don't they know that no self-respecting creepy-crawly thing is going to stick his (or her) head up through the white stuff so that the early bird gets a shot at it? They're way down in the ground where it's nice and warm. Besides that, they don't have to fly southward to get out of the weather � or away from robins.

The merula migratoia (which is a scientific name for the North American bird) also likes fruit. In Washington State where I had a small patch of strawberries, I had to rig up a netting over it to keep the pesky robbers out. They were finicky feeders: a peck here and a peck there as they ruined a lot of fruit.

I can remember when we were marooned in Payson, Arizona, by a sudden three-foot snowfall. We were fortunate enough to hole up for several days in a luxurious lodge, and one tiny incident sticks in my mind.

On one occasion, when we looked out a window, we saw a stupid robin huddled up in an evergreen tree while the storm whipped around it. Right away, I thought of the birds back home.

They were smart enough � I felt then � to beat the calendar and not be caught up in a blizzard like this poor robin was. It reminded me of the verse which heads this column.

He (or she) had gone south for the winter all right � but not far enough!

That got me to thinking about avian flights and where they would stop to spend the winter. Obviously, Payson, Arizona, was not a good choice.

But I digress!

Robins are not Phyllis's favorite bird, next to sparrows and blue jays. They're a thrush, so they're supposed to sing nicely. But she says they are raucous and grate on her nerves � especially in the morning when they wake her up with their silly song.

I don't know if they had any connection to the bird, but Robin Hood and Robin Goodfellow are characters who came over to us from jolly old England. We all know that the former was a politically incorrect outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Goodfellow, according to English folk lore, was a mischievous elf who played tricks on unsuspecting people.

But I digress again!

Suffice to say, I'll be glad if another bird gets its way � and there's an anonymous nursery rhyme to memorialize it:

"Who killed Cock Robin?"

"I," said the sparrow,

"With my bow and arrow,

I killed Cock Robin."

� 2005 Robert F. Karolevitz

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