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
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 the 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
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
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
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: “get 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.