Robins, Grackles, Redwings

This is the week Winter’s game went ’tilt’. She may attempt a comeback or two, but she’s tried for one freeze too many and is now out of the competition.

The lawns in the park have been greening, almost imperceptibly. A hint of colour that deepens subtly each day until the colour palette changes from browns and greys to chlorophyll. Spring is at the controls!

Surging through the biological clocks of plants, insects, fish, birds, and animals (including cellphone-chatting primates), the new season gathers strength and puts forth life. Energy over dormancy. Robins fresh from a long flight are already patrolling the lawns, scouting the emerging earthworms. Grackles fly around in bunches, squawking and preening and doing whatever else grackles do.

A lone male redwing has claimed the territory by the bridge over the harbour. Singing aggressively, scarlet epaulets flaring in the sun, it brooks no challengers.

Tagging studies have shown that many migratory birds return to the exact same territory they occupied the summer before. I wonder if the robin in our back yard this morning is the same one I watched last summer.

I wonder, particularly, if the hormone-frenzied redwing is the same one that dive-bombed pedestrians last summer. Not just fly-bys to chase us away, but actual pecks on the head. I got drilled three times and I’ve talked to others with similar stories.

You never saw him coming. Just a sudden, loud fluttering of wings in your ear and a peck on the head while he circled around in the air just out of reach. When you’re walking along lost in thought or listening to your iPod, it’s startling.

But I say, welcome back! Welcome home!  If you’d ease off on the attacks a bit, it might improve your PR, but glad to see you nonetheless.

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