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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Live in Middle TN. Saw a huge amount of robins for the first time yesterday. They were everywhere, singing, and fighting.

Today there was even more of them.

Hope that means the coldest winter weather is over. Seems that way in previous years.
 

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...Saw a huge amount of robins ... yesterday...
Hope that means... winter ...is over.
I to hope it means winter is over but I am afraid it only means there is some large hackberry trees at your location, http://www.learner.org/jnorth/search/RobinNotes4.html

Robins are my number 2 all time favorite song bird. His little cousin the Eastern Bluebird is number one. There are a few Robins that over winter here and I am only 20 miles South of the Tennessee state line.

I was told by the old timers that 100 years ago when Robins flocked up during the winter workiing the hackberry trees that boys would get themselves a long bamboo pole and go into the roost after dark knocking birds off their roost limb for the pot. The game bag was the boys overalls once they tied the pants legs shut and it was not unusual for a fellow with good hand eye coordination to come home with his pants and overall bib full of robbins. We may have to live like this once again.
 

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I to hope it means winter is over but I am afraid it only means there is some large hackberry trees at your location,
Interesting. Last Saturday morning my wife said there sure are a lot of Robins in our tree. I went and looked. There had to be 30+. Sure enough they were in a big ole Hackberry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There are a lot of hackberry trees here. But what would they be doing in a tree with no foilage. Actually they are in almost all of the trees and are on the ground.

Last year they left in late Oct early Nov only to return in December. We had a mild winter last year.
 

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There are a lot of hackberry trees here. But what would they be doing in a tree with no foilage[?]
The hackberry is also known as "sugarberry" or something like that. The seeds stay on the tree after the leaves fall. The seed is really a small dried fruit. You can eat a dried hackberry seed's thin sweet coating but don't try to bite into the seed or you may break a tooth.

Being armed with a gizzard, robins are able to sand away this thin fruit coating and derive a little nourishment from its high sugar content; the seeds on the other hand are totally rejected by the bird’s digestive track, and redistributed. Usually on your windshield. Since hackberry by this time of year is the only game in town, (except for Bartlet pear and privet hedge) hackberry trees attract fruit eating birds by the millions. Examine a pre-robin hackberry seed, it looks like a small round raisin or a black pepper corn, post robin it resembles a billiard ball.
 

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Not seeing any...here in ...Birmingham [yet]...
Long long ago in a far distant galaxy I lived on the 1700 block of Nazuma Ave. in Birmingham, just up the hill from Highland Ave. There were huge old hackberry trees right outside my bedroom window. Some mornings there were several hundred robins working the trees. The traction on the driveway was sometimes impaired by all the BB sized hackberry seeds laying on the blacktop. To catch a crook follow the money, to catch sight of a robin follow the hackberry.

Its all about the birds and the bees, bees and birds both forage where the forage is.
 

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Speaking of the birds and the bees, and little wild fruits, I did my good deed yesterday. While walking the dog I often see a mocking bird in the back hedgerow in the horse pasture where I now keep my bees. He is a hard case looking mocking bird, kind of tattered or frumpy, I guess you could say this mocking bird looked like he had old newspapers stuffed underneath his feathers like a homeless person to protect himself from the cold.

This mocking bird has colonized a small patch of honeysuckle, sassafras, blackberry briars, and berry bearing privet hedges. He is always there to tease my dog when I release him. However yesterday a flock of starlings, maybe 500 strong suddenly swooped in on Mr. Mockingbird’s private privet berry larder and started to strip the cupboard bare. Even from 100 yards away, you could see the desperation in mockingbird’s actions as he tried desperately to repel this barbarian invasion. Feeling sorry for him, I chunked a clod at the starlings, shouted, and waved my arms wildly. I guess the starlings had forgotten an important appointment elsewhere, because they all took wing at once, leaving the mockingbird in possession of his diminished estate. I will see today if the mockingbird is still there or it he had to find himself a greener pasture.
 

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I saw a small flock of robins on my lawn today for the first time too!...in cold New York state! :eek: :D

It hit 42 today high, but going back down again to highs in the 30's after this for a while again. Some snow predicted this weekend. :eek:
 

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Saw a Robin's convention today here in Central PA. It hit 41/42 today. They are tweeting and hopping about. God, I hope that they are telling us that winter is finally over. :applause:
 

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Scrapfe, I enjoyed your description of the Mocker and the Starlings!
Thank you for your kind words Tom and USCBeeMan.

The mocker was still there as of this afternoon, grimly holding on to his little fiefdom, awaiting better times, a mate, and perhaps a family of robins to be-devil comes Spring. Come to think of it the mocker most likely has already staked out this over grown paddock as his singing and breeding ground come spring. Better there than on the roof ridge over my bedroom window.

But this tough old bird has one little problem, a blue darter, aka Coopers or sharp-shined hawk hanging around my pasture, looking for the proverbial 10 and 20 blackbirds to bake in a pie. I hope he dosen't settle for a lonly tough old mocking bird. If I have time this weekend I'll tripod up my spotting scope and identify Mr. Raptor.
 

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Thanks for the information about your birds.
I'll tripod up my spotting scope and identify Mr. Raptor.

I left some apples on my trees for feeding the local birds.
If you set an apple out for the Mocking bird he will be happier:)

Ernie
 

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Hate to burst anyones bubble about an early spring because of seeing Robins, but even here in the New England robins have adapted to various new food sources such as seed plants and sumac, etc. It is not uncommon to see robins all winter long. They certainly are not in the numbers that you see in the spring but many do hold over here. Many of the robins seen in New England are those from Canada that find our area more tolerable than their own northern climate. There are other birds that are fast becoming winter residents as well and not migrating, one example is the Carolina Wren that about five years ago you would be hard pressed to find one holding over in the winter. It's not uncommon to find them frequenting bird feeders during the winter months nowadays in New England. The Northern Cardinal is another bird that 30 - 40 years ago you would be hard pressed to find in the winter months, but now it is found in abundance and most feel it has always resided here in the winter months. Cheers, Spring is coming sooner than you think. Greg Watkevich
 
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