Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Robins are coming!

I step outside onto the soaking green grass this morning, the slate colored ocean and rain-bearing sky looming beyond me. It is the always changing backdrop here, subdued now in gray tones.

It’s late Winter, and a refreshingly wet one. This time around, we’re experiencing an unusual avian phenomenon: Robins — Thousands and thousands of them, massive flocks swooping down to the forest behind the house every evening.

Normally we see just a few of these plump red-breasted birds as our seasonal indicators, placidly plucking fat worms from the grass. But this year, we’re absolutely flooded with them. Robins anticipate wet weather (the "early bird" element) because saturated soil makes it easier to hunt for earthworms, who burrow up to the surface to avoid drowning.

Last week I hiked up above the house at dusk, and literally had to dodge hundreds of Robins as they careened down the hill to the forest. As night falls we hear them chirping and twittering up a storm as they settle down to sleep on the branches of the oak and bay trees. They’re not breeding yet, or nesting; they’ll nest when they migrate back home. This is their hunting party.

Mornings are best, as we listen to a luxuriant dawn symphony of bird song, alternating with the drumbeat of hundreds of wings as they fly off in groups, beginning their day with a clear sense of purpose. The moment that they take off, feathers rustling in unison, calms the soul.

What do they do each day? It seems they forage for berries, eat worms, sing flirtatious songs, fly around, then come home. Sounds familiar.

The Robin visitation is unique to this property (known as Lone Palm): we’ve checked with our neighbors on other ridges and up and down this mountain and it’s only happening here. I’m considering it a good sign.

Birds represent the healing cycle of life, our connection with the Divine. The multitudes of Robins visiting Partington during these weeks are part of our habitat’s regeneration after the ’08 fire. As my clever spouse points out, they poop out seeds, (hmmm, is this why their scientific name is turdus migratorius?) This process enriches the land, which means more plants, more insects, more small animals, and so on. Exponential growth.

So, may the blessings of the Lone Palm Robins be upon you. May they bring fruitful abundance and effusive joy to your current flight path!
Robin photo by Linda Sonrisa
Flight picture by Toby Rowland-Jones


Lisa G. said...

I think birds are a fortuitous sign too. Two evenings ago I saw two huge flocks of birds but I couldn't tell what they were. I haven't seen them in Big Sur before - a little larger than Robins I think, with more yellow/gold bellies. But maybe it was them?!


SurToby said...

Please advise your readers to be wary of stepping on birdit - they'll disrupt the delicate balance of nature: beware the poop!
Turdus migratorius... ahh