The American robin, technically a thrush, is common to most parts of the lower forty-eight states. Once we exclaim to our family and friends that we have seen the” first robin of spring”, we usually forget about them. We pay them little attention. That is OK with them because they don’t pay a lot of attention to us either, unless you get too close to a nest or a fledgling scooting along the ground. That causes a bit of a ruckus.
Robin's egg blue!
Having several robins nest around our cabin has made me appreciate them for several reasons:
One, the females are amazing nest builders. They go around building nests in a perfect cup shape with the “wrist” of one wing. Sometimes, she works hard only to realize it’s just not right, so off she goes to build another. All is not lost though; I have seen other bird species (after a little change in decorating) happily settle into the neighborhood in the robin’s old apartment.
Two, I know I have less “bad” bugs because I have so many industrious robins combing my yard and garden for juicy invertebrates. Granted, they eat beneficial earthworms, but really, there is enough to share. And I have learned to net my blueberries.
Third, I love how confidently they strut around-unless they are feeding a fledgling. Then they just look harried as the youngster demands to be fed, and fed, and fed. What parent wouldn’t identify with that? I have been known to call out to the demanding little cheeper, “Grow up and get your own worms! Your mom’s tired!”
What I have learned from watching robins is that there is grace in the common and ordinary. There is no angst, no self-doubt, no wondering if their feathers make them look fat. They respond to the seasons without complaint, pour complete effort into nest-making, raise their young with great devotion, and still find time to sing a sweet song.
I’m glad I share a name with these dignified birds that remind me to find beauty in my everyday living.
For more information on robins and other birds, check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, http://www.allaboutbirds.org.