Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust . . .

This is the time of year in New England where the American Robin migrates back to our area to raise it's young and spend the summer months among us.  In fact, they are the state bird of Connecticut, being so plentiful here.  I'm not so sure they are the best representative of our fair state, however.

Don't get me wrong, they are among the most colorful of our backyard birds. With their orangey-red breast feathers they are easily recognizable as they search for worms and grubs in the spring lawn. The trouble starts when they decide to wander out into the street. Frankly, they don't seem to have evolved in the there's-a-car-coming-so-I-need-to-get-out-of-the-way department.  That appears to have been the fate of this poor bird, found on my front lawn by the road's edge. I have seen too many robins meet their fate on local roadsides, much more than other bird species, that it makes me wonder how they stack up in the bird-intelligence hierarchy.  Not so high, I'm thinking. Bird banders have found that only 25% of young Robins survive the first year. Maybe this is why?

To date, I have not directly been involved in the untimely death of a robin, but I have come very close, more times than I care to remember. They truly seem to have no clue of the impending danger as cars come hurtling towards them. Are they so engrossed is guessing where their next worm will come from that they have no time to consider their own safety?  I once watched, in horror, as a robin strolled across a local back road as a car came straight toward it. The driver slowed down, noting the bird, and I'm absolutely sure she thought that robin was going to fly out of harm's way at the last moment. It didn't. I will forever remember the look of horror on that woman's face as her car and the robin became one on that little piece of asphalt that day. Not a pretty sight.

So I ask that you be extra vigilant, now that the robins are back, so you don't unwittingly become party to the passing of one of these little birds. As for the bird in the photo, I will use the few images I took of his impressive feathers for reference in a project I'm working on. So in a way, he donated his little bird body to art.  Maybe I should have given it to science, however, so they could study his little bird brain to figure out why they don't seem so smart when it comes to cars.

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