Monday, March 29, 2010

Robin convention in the field(s)

Don’t robins migrate away from New Jersey for the winter anymore? They’ve been sighted since December ’09, and if we had looked, they were probably around even earlier. Maybe they never left. While we weren’t looking, did they became year-rounders ’round here?

OK, let’s say that hunch is now true. The next question is, how do they decide to hold robin conventions in nearby fields? Mobs of them turn up and position themselves all over a field, with no other kinds of birds in sight.

Such a robin convention last Tuesday made me wonder what variable(s) had led to it. Was it merely the first un-rainy day in a few? Was it the wind, which was noticeable to cyclists in the area? How about the quality of light? The temperature? Was it somehow a good day for worms, and therefore for robins (ground-feeders that they are)?

Since I doubt they migrate anymore, I can’t conclude they all just flew in from out of state and met to compare travel notes. Maybe it’s as simple for robins as it can be for humans: it was a good day, so let’s take a bike ride -- or hold a convention!

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