What’s Red And Is Bobbing Along In Your Backyard?

It’s time to “wake up, wake up you sleepyhead, get up, get out of bed.” They are the lyrics of a song written in 1926 by Harry M. Woods and it is a wake-up call for all of those people

The sheet for Red, Red, Robin.

The sheet for Red, Red, Robin.

coming out of a harsh winter. The winter of 2014 has affected more people, for what seemed like a longer period of time, but now it’s over! How do we know it’s over, especially when snow storms keep coming along the northeastern coast where we live? We know because the red, red robin has been spotted there.

The song I refer to is entitled, “When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin Along.” Although I am one of the “snow birds” that leave our area for warmer climates, I’ve been watching face book for reports of the robin’s appearance in Pennsylvania and those reports have come through. Has the extremely cold temperatures and big accumulation of snow left you feeling like staying in bed and pulling the covers up over your head? One of the first signs of spring has appeared so as red robin 13the song says: “get up, get out of bed, live, love, laugh, and be happy.” The song, with its cheerful tune may not be familiar to you, but there is another cheery tune now being sung right outside in your backyard. The robin’s repeated “chrrr” song can sound like a laugh or a chuckle. Perhaps he’s telling ‘old man winter’ to go away. I know there are still winter clean-ups to do and gray skies will still come, especially through March, but the weather is definitely changing, so do cheer up.

Everyone is counting robins! I usually record my first sighting on the calendar. The reliability

Berries make good eating for the robin.

Berries make good eating for the robin.

of their return is the assurance we need that spring will also return. I’m never among the first people to spot them, but I did see a big flock of them in 2008, on February 26. It was on March 2 that I saw the first one in 2007, March 8, in 2009, March 14, in 2001, and not until March 18 in 2005, when our yard was full of them. My husband is always concerned that they won’t find food here this early, especially with snow still covering the ground. But dried berries are to their liking, and surprisingly there is a great supply of them hanging on trees and bushes. At our house, the holly bushes stand covered with ‘wintered-over’ berries.

Speaking of wintering over, some robins do stay over the winter in PA. But what about

We don't like to see them go, but now they are back.

We don’t like to see them go, but now they are back.

Florida? I wondered if they are here at all and then learned that back in February, in certain areas of the state, the robins began gorging themselves on berries from the palms and the pyracantha. Maybe preparing for the long trip up north. How do birds get ready for long, fall migrations? There are hormonal shifts in their bodies that stimulate a molting of feathers in exchange for ones that will stand up under long flight, these changes also cause them to eat more and gain weight, and soon they have the urge to go. I, for one am glad they are back. When spring rolls around we will no longer see the big flocks of birds

Surprise!

Surprise!

getting ready for migration. No, now it’s a different story! When robins start yanking worms out of our yards they are switching from being non-territorial in the winter time to aggressively defending a territory in advance of courting and raising chicks. And, the ones you see, have chosen your yard. God has thought of everything,even that which cheers us.

Getting back to the song under discussion here. If you’ve never heard it, go to ‘you tube,’ you’ll hear it being song there, perhaps by Al Jolson. Take heed to the words that say: “gered red robin 10t up, get up the sun is red.” That means it will soon be warmer temperatures, then, check out the red, red robin he’s, more  proof of that. Listen to the song about the red, breasted bird that’s in your back yard and write to me here at Shirl and You.

Get the bird baths back up.

Get the bird baths back up.

8 thoughts on “What’s Red And Is Bobbing Along In Your Backyard?

  1. Reading your blog made me smile. I wonder if you saw the picture of the robin that I posted on my facebook page a couple of weeks ago? I also spotted my robin eating berries out of the holly tree in our front yard. He sure seemed to be enjoying them, and what a beautiful robin he was!!! Yes, this bird is certainly a sign of spring, and we all can’t wait for warmer weather. I am certainly anticipating the spring migration of shorebirds; and I am looking forward to the arrival of the Red Knots as they make their impressive migration back to their breeding grounds. This year I am hoping to be able to photograph banded birds and send in my reports and sighting to Audubon. It is exciting to hear back from them and get specific information for banded birds that you have photographed and identified!! Have you done any birding with Janine? She posted some fabulous pictures of birds that she photographed in Florida; and Florida is one of the very best places for birding!! Thank you for another great blog. 🙂

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    • I am amazed at how much you are learning about our feathered friends. You certainly are a friend to them. You, Colleen, are also a great encouragement to me and my blog writing. I did see your robin photo. Hope it soon begins to feel like spring there.

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  2. Hi Shirl! I hate to admit I know the song quite well (and “yes”, I really remembered typewriters LOL). We get robins in the Northwoods, usually between July 2nd and July 15th. You can tell because they have red breasts and little down-fill vests. Regards~Chuck

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    • Hi Chuck: I’ve yet to see a robin wearing a down-filled vest, but it sounds probable there in northern Maine. I’ve thought of you and Gloria oftentimes this winter. Glad you two are survivors. Thanks for writing.

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      • Hope you guys are getting a taste of spring. We have three feet of snow, and maybe another foot this week LOL. GREAT news for our businesses, as they live or die with snowmobiling. We think of you and Burl quite often too. Your blogs help make the winter pass so much more pleasantly! Regards.

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      • Wow! so much snow! I understand, though, about needing it for successful business there. Hope when the time comes you have an extra lovely spring and summer. Thanks for the remarks about shirlandyou. I appreciate hearing them. God bless you and Gloria.

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  3. This has been the worst winter. I’ve shoveled more snow than I can say. And I really hope it’s done. I’ve been out in the severe weather almost every storm…(at least I was pardoned once and didn’t have to stress). I have enjoyed the birds…they love to feed in this kind of weather. I’ve seen the robins throughout the winter and that seemed odd to me…someone told me they don’t go south (which I thought they did) but instead go into the forest for protection. I’m glad you are able to get away and enjoy the weather in Florida. I’m looking forward to Spring.

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    • You people who made it through the winter in Pennsylvania should have T shirts that say, “I survived the winter of 2014.” So glad you did, including through all the shoveling, too. Hang on, I’m hoping for one of the nicest springs we can remember. Thanks for writing, Karen.

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