Bird of the Day: Wondering Where Your Robins Went For the Winter? They're Here!
I was back on campus this week preparing for the new semester. I haven't had many opportunities to check up on the activities in our little campus mini-wilderness, a drainage pond in a small pasture and oak/eucalyptus woodland that is sometimes used for grazing sheep, but which is usually ignored. It's been a pretty good site for seeing birds during lunchtime walks, but today it was positively hopping with bird life.
I thought from a distance that the swarming flocks were Brewer's or Red-winged Blackbirds. As I got closer I realized that they had red breasts. The hundreds, maybe thousands of birds were American Robins (Turdus migratorius)! I've never seen so many in one place.
The American Robin is of course one of the most common birds in North America, with an estimated population of around 300 million. Many of those from the north country migrate into the southern states and California for the winter. Apparently this crew likes our area for overwintering, or at least a brief stop. We'll see if they're still around in the coming weeks.