Is spring on the way, or are the robins confused?

OK, I’m not complaining, so please don’t read this wrong. But…

Around these parts, one of the first signs of spring is the appearance of robins—those happy-go-lucky, red-breasted winged friends who seem to arrive out of nowhere.

Without a doubt, we can always rely on them showing up around mid-March, and it’s always a special moment when we call out: “Hey, there’s a robin in the neighbor’s back yard!”

“Hey, everyone. It’s spring! Or is it?”

Well, last week (January 27th to be exact!), as I was grinding away on my MacBook and happened to glance out through my “window to the world,” I spotted one of those happy-go-lucky, red-breasted winged friends bouncing about in the back yard, carrying on as though the calendar was much farther along then it really was.

I sensed that the perky, little robin wanted to be seen, and I could almost hear her shouting: “Hello, everyone. It’s springtime!”

It was a delightful feeling seeing that bird, and one which made me feel good about the direction our winter was taking.

True, this winter has been a far cry from winters past—particularly last year’s—and the fact that I’ve only used our snow thrower two times is testament to that fact. Again, not complaining!

Not surprisingly, soon after the first robin showed, there was what appeared to be an invasion of her friends, immediate family, relatives, and various other hangers-on of the robin clan.

Our yard seemed to be cluttered with them as they bounced around in search of snacks and treats in the grass no longer covered with winter’s blanket.

After awhile this battalion of birds moved from the back yard and maneuvered around to the side lot where I snapped a couple of photos of this earlier-than-usual showing.

Later that afternoon, while I was busily stoking the Weber charcoal grill on our driveway, I could see that the gang of robins was still in the vicinity, but that they had moved across the street to the large empty lot. Again, I snapped a photo from my driveway, and one must look carefully to recognize them as robins. If nothing else, take my word for it.

Funny thing is, I haven’t seen them since that day. Our weather has been unseasonably pleasant and very March-like, so one would think that the happy creatures would have stuck around and continued whatever it is they do to herald the onset of spring—even though that’s still quite a ways off!

Perhaps one bird in this merry contingent checked the calendar and had an “oops moment” and delivered the news to the leader, causing the embarrassed congregation of happy-go-lucky, red-breasted winged friends to slink away, realizing that they’d jumped the gun just a bit.

Whatever the reasons: Why they arrived when they did and Why they didn’t stick around, the wonders of nature never cease to amaze me! Something was definitely at work in the universe of the robins, telling them it was time to pop in to northern Illinois.

Maybe they were just checking things out, making sure everything was in order for their real arrival in several weeks from now. Whatever their reasons, we’ll be looking for them once again and will welcome them back to stay a lot longer!

Not complaining…


17 thoughts on “Is spring on the way, or are the robins confused?

  1. Our robins usually arrive in Nov/Dec so I tend to associate them with Christmas. One pleasant sign of spring this week was the blossom on my neighbour’s tree. There was a slight suggestion of it yesterday but today it was in full bloom. Smelt lovely too. We haven’t any snow at all but it’s damn cold today (for London anyway!)

      1. It’s so nice, Mark. I guess I notice it even more in London as there are fewer reminders of nature. I kind of envy your rural existence. Maybe one day! It’s never terribly cold here. About 7 celsius today, which I’m sure is very mild compared with what you’re used to. Even so, I’ve cranked up the heating and I’m staying in tonight 🙂

      2. Thank you, Mary. Yeah, the rural existence is nice. Far enough from the madding crowd, yet close enough to get there when necessary. I guess your temperatures are pretty mild, much like we had here last week. Now, though, it’s pounding rain and the winds are steadily picking up. I think I’ll stay in tonight as well. Perhaps a good one for getting some work done on the novel. 🙂

  2. It’s February, and here in NE Ohio I don’t even feel like we’ve started winter yet. We had a brief cold spell in January, but now it’s pleasant again. But like you, I’m not complaining! The last few winters were pretty brutal so this is a nice change of pace.

    1. Carrie, I was just out in Port Clinton this past weekend and walking around without a coat or jacket, so I know exactly what you mean. At the moment, it’s raining hard and furious, but it’s still better than the blizzard that’s raging out in Colorado, Nebraska, and up into Minnesota. I feel like I should resurrect my best Gene Kelly and head out, umbrella in hand, and flit about the neighborhood, singing in the rain! (Of course, there are ordinances against all that!) 🙂

  3. When I was growing up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, robins were always a sign of spring. The first winter we were in Charlotte, we had a light snow, maybe an inch or so. When it melted I remember seeing hundreds of robins all over the backyard and on the golf course. It was still very cold, but they were digging up the worms. I’m enjoying a milder winter this year, and so is our gas bill. 🙂

    1. Hello, Jill. I’m with you on the “milder” gas bills! And you may be on to something there with the “melting snow” as a sign for the robins to head on in and announce that spring is on the way. I enjoy watching them when they finally do arrive because they always seem to be on some totally important mission. I hope your “milder winter” remains as such–especially since we’ll be making our way to North Carolina the end of the month. 🙂

  4. What a happy post! Two things struck me while reading it. One, that we both view our computers in the same way. I call it my ‘window to the world’ too. I am constantly amazed how I can connect with people around the world just while sitting in my study/home office. The other thing that struck me was how much your observations about the robins remind me of Wordsworth’s poems about skylarks and robins in winter. Unfortunately I have forgotten the names of some of those poems, if not, I would have been able to sound a bit more scholarly. Thanks for the post. Nice.

    1. Hi, runaway palate! Thank you for your nice comments. I’m glad you found this post “happy” because I had a lot of fun putting it together. Like you, I love that we can communicate with people from just about everywhere, without getting dressed up to do so! Through this blog, I have met folks from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, to name but a few. And, of course, I can’t fail to mention those fellow bloggers from right here in the USA! It’s comments such as yours that make it all good. 🙂

  5. Well, it could be Spring arriving, after all, it’s only about three weeks away.
    Here in New Zealand, it will be Autumn soon, weather very hot here. I think I will stay with summer, much nicer.
    All the best to you that Spring arrives early.

    1. Hello, kiwinana. I like summer, too, but then I’m always ready for fall. Then winter trudges in, and it’s not so bad–for awhile–and then we begin to hope for signs of spring: e.g.-the robins. And then summer knocks again and bursts in all of a sudden! And then the whole cycle begins again. I love that we have the changes. Here’s hoping that your weather doesn’t stay too hot for long. Thank you for checking in from your home in New Zealand. 🙂

  6. Pingback: The importance of a relationship with place | Flotsam and Jetsam

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