Birds as Bullies

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Yes, I mean YOU

Today we turn the page from January. I’ve got a calendar featuring various backyard birds and the bird of the month for February is the Robin. I take that as a sign from the universe to talk about the a-hole behavior I witnessed yesterday.

When I grew up, Robins were considered a sign of spring. Where I live now, not so much. There are a few who decide to tough out our winters. Not sure why. Yesterday, we had one show up around the feeders so maybe this one was new in town. To get bird-nerd on you, Robins typically feed on the ground or pick berries from trees and bushes so they can’t really perch on a feeder. Give them a flat platform and they’ll show up every now and then but they don’t take to feeders as much as other birds.

With a little snow cover and the cold yesterday, I guess pickings were slim and the other birds do knock stuff to the ground so I think he was taking advantage of that. Except then he decided that the whole territory was his and he wasn’t going to share with the bluebirds. The thing spent most of the afternoon chasing the bluebirds away. And, we’ve got a flock of 9-10 so this Robin was busy. Pretty sure he expended more energy chasing them away then he got from the bits and pieces that fell from the feeders.

Anyway, at one point, this Robin landed on top of the mealworm feeder the bluebirds prefer. There is a cage around it to keep out larger birds (like Robins) so this Robin had no chance of actually eating anything. But it was certainly going to keep the Bluebirds from eating. Kind of like taking your ball and going home. If I can’t eat these worms, then you can’t eat them either.

Read that Robins can be aggressive like this. Who knew? The Bluebirds eventually used their superior numbers to sneak by him and get some food. But he was back out on patrol today so we’ll see what happens.

Even though Robins aren’t a reliable predictor of spring, the fact that one is staking out a territory now is a sign that we are moving in that direction. As a month, the beginning of January looks an awful lot like the end of January. A little more light but that’s it. February is where we’ll really start to see more changes as the earth wakes up from winter. I love seeing even those early signs for the spring to come.

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