Like the cliff swallows of Capistrano, they have returned. Robins. Lots and lots of robins. I’m not sure where they go when the weather gets cold, but they go. Then, one day, they return. Robins are a bit migratory, but it’s mostly an effort to follow the food source. Robins will eat berries and fruits, but as everyone knows, robins love worms and grubs and creepie crawlies. When the leaves and ground are frozen, there aren’t many insects to be had.
During winter, robins form flocks, sometimes in the hundreds and even thousands of birds. They do this for protection, like a large school of fish – a sort of herd mentality to avoid predators.
We leave extra leaves in our yard, around the edges and over perennial flower beds. Worms and bugs rely on those leaves for protection and robins rely on the bugs for food. Year before last, I had one robin that never left our yard. He stayed, even in the snow, and would fly up to the feeder with sunflower hearts. He is the only robin I’ve ever seen to fly to the feeder. I suppose he figured out that as long as he could find sunflower hearts, why fly south?
Soon, robins will move back in force and then they will begin scuffling for squatter’s rights. No more than two pairs of robins will make the final cut. They will divide the territory in our yard and raise and feed their young. They do every year, just like the returning swallows of Capistrano.