Many American Robins returned to Inwood Hill Park this week. They gave the appearance of being a little dazed, as if they had suddenly been transported from another space and time to this wild hilly place of tall old trees adjacent to a big river. The robins were singing their song not heard here in recent months of winter.
Harbingers of spring, the robins explored the park paths and the limbs of the trees to look out at great distances. Their instincts guided them to wander around for anything to eat, frequently scavenging any sort of berry under fallen leaves in the forest understory.
The weather is not settled yet – cold and windy one day with a hint of spring the next. Northern Manhattan can at times experience snowfall greater than in Lower Manhattan, some twelve miles to the south. It may snow late tonight. We can forgive the robins for looking a little unsure about this place.
In a short while, the American Robins will locate suitable ranches for their tightly woven nest cups and the laying of their characteristically blue eggs. When the weather warms by late spring, they will tease earthworms out of the ground. By then, they will have assumed their favorite places and routines, establishing a formidable presence in the park.
A Gallery of American Robins
Summer Season with the Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles are in town, and I don’t mean just the ones playing away games at Yankee Stadium this past week. I’m referring to the all-star birds of orange and black, joining the major league Cardinals and Blue Jays above the athletic fields and all around the edges of Inwood Hill Park. Most Baltimore…
Listening to the American Redstart
Like most warblers, the American Redstart is a petite bundle of energy unwilling to sit still for pictures. It appears in quick flashes, a blur of black and orange (the male) while flitting from tree to tree to forage for insects. Though dressed in the colors of Halloween (a frequent characterization), American Redstarts are rarely…
A Black-throated Blue on the Old Green Hill
I heard the song of a Black-throated Blue Warbler on Sunday morning, an amusing sound that is sometimes translated in the field guides as “please-please-SQUEEZE-me.” (Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds of North America, Eastern Region, 1977) With their midnight blue coloring, a black throat, and white underneath, these birds are both pretty…