Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The First Robin of 2021


Robins stay in Michigan for the whole winter, but they behave differently than they do in the warmer months. In summer, you often see lone robins or pairs of birds on lawns and trees in urban back yards, where they eat worms and many other things. In contrast, during the winter they flock together and prefer more wooded areas where they can find berries to eat. We saw a huge number of robins flocking around in some trees in town recently. 

I know that many people are very excited to see robins return to their back yards in spring, but I was determined to see some winter robins! I saw one near our house just before New Year's, and finally saw this flock today. (For more robin facts, see this page at the Cornell Laboratory Website.)


Another beautiful bird that stays around here during the winter is the bluebird. While searching for a robin, we saw three of them in a park not far from our house. I love the way that they keep their vivid blue color even in winter.
Three bluebirds in a tree.

The Cornell Laboratory website has an interesting paragraph about what bluebirds eat:
"Insects caught on the ground are a bluebird’s main food for much of the year. Major prey include caterpillars, beetles crickets, grasshoppers, and spiders. In fall and winter, bluebirds eat large amounts of fruit including mistletoe, sumac, blueberries, black cherry, tupelo, currants, wild holly, dogwood berries, hackberries, honeysuckle, bay, pokeweed, and juniper berries. Rarely, Eastern Bluebirds have been recorded eating salamanders, shrews, snakes, lizards, and tree frogs."

A cold and wintery day.

On another walk: the stream not yet frozen.

And a somewhat more exciting bird on another walk: a Merlin,
which is a type of falcon.

Blog post and all photos © 2021 mae and len sander.


Angie's Recipes said...

The blue birds are really beautiful!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I don't often see flocks of robins, but maybe once a year they visit our yard (our neighbor has a bush growing over our fence that has berries they like to eat). Saw a single robin the other day that look very fat and sassy. Fun post -- thanks.

Anne in the kitchen said...

Robins are a constant feature in my yard. A few mornings ago I counted 20 while sipping on my morning coffee. We see a lot of bluebirds in the spring and summer, but rarely during the winter.

Tina said...

We are seeing robins and bluebirds but I have never seen a Merlin. Quite impressive looking bird.

Pam said...

Interesting post, Mae! No robins here until Spring, and we saw one bluebird last summer. Right now, we've got Cardinals, Snowbirds, Woodpeckers, lots of sparrows, hawks, and huge crows, then a plethora of flocks of geese and ducks flying to the lake by us. That falcon is pretty awesome!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Flocks of robins here in Oregon all year long, but they are uncommon in our part of Florida. No bluebirds around here, wish there were.

My name is Erika. said...

I live in just a cold enough spot that the winter robins aren't around. And I'm too wooded for bluebirds. But when I was teaching the school was in a great spot to see some of these less visible winter birds. I'd see bluebirds and flocks of robins in the trees. I do miss the birding that I used to have from my classroom windows. Nice photos today. I really enjoyed this post. (sorry for writing so much too)

Tandy | Lavender and Lime ( said...

I thought the blue bird was pretty, until I saw the merlin. That is georgeous.

Divers and Sundry said...

Lovely :) We have robins and bluebirds here, but robins are common on our little urban patio while bluebirds prefer more open areas. I've never seen a merlin in person. It looks like you have a great woodland area for walking.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Mae,

I have seen a flock of Robins in the woods near me, Sometimes I hear them in my yard. The Bluebirds are my favorite, they are so pretty. Awesome sighting of the Merlin! Great photos.
Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your weekend! PS, thank you for the comment.

Adam Jones said...

I love that Bluebird and the Robin is also a really nice bird.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The Merlin is a beautiful bird and must be hard to spot! Love the colorful birds that stand out in the winter months. I hope I see some when we get out tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend!

Linda said...

I see robins pretty often but bluebirds only rarely.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It has been some years now since robins started spending the winter with us, but Eastern Bluebird is more and more commonly seen. The last ones I saw were feeding on sumach.