Winter Robins

I woke up this morning with a headache and the news about the selection of the new Doctor Who doesn't help. I think this picture sums up my thoughts on the matter. However, lots of robins were bustling around the tree branches outside the window and that perked me up a bit. I could not resist my digiscoping equipment and tried for some photos through my dirty storm windows:

Every winter we get robins around the Twin Cities. This winter we seem to have more centered in the heart of the metro area and I wonder if our trees are having a bumper berry/nut crop this year. I see flocks on a daily basis in our neighborhood. Sometimes you can hear one robin quietly singing to itself. I wonder if these are birds hatched in the summer of 2008 and practicing their territory songs for the breeding season of 2009?

This robin had a black bill. I wonder if it's from eating berries? I tried to read through some of the food habits of American robins on Birds of North America Online, but was unable to find anything conclusive about winter food habits. In one study, plant material consisted of 90% of their diet, but varied in other areas. I could guess that they could find some animal material. When I worked at the bird store in Wayzata, there was a bait shop in the same mall. They would toss out old minnows and in the winter, robins would fly down and eat them. They are resourceful creatures. I should go out there and see if I could digiscope that.

Mostly, the robins were eating snow on the roof of the apartment building across the way. Birds will eat snow for moisture if they can't find open water. I got a video of it (and you can hear some Ting Ting in the back ground):