Thursday, 16 March 2017

Casualties of Winter

So far, this hasn't been a bad winter, not too many severe storms, and not too many nights when the temperature has plunged to freezing, but any winter is hard for the small birds which stay here to face it. A typical adult robin weighs between half and three-quarters of an ounce, giving it very little room for reserves of fat, so, inevitably, there are casualties.

By March the robins are pairing up, and part of the process is establishing a territory - and to do that the males have to sing and chase away rivals.

We noticed this robin a few days ago. He has a damaged leg, so badly damaged that he can't use it at all - wherever he goes it just hangs down. He's taken to settling on the top of one of the canes from which a peanut feeder hangs, not because he's interested in the peanuts but because....'s very handy for watching one of the areas where we scatter grain.

He seems to be surviving quite well and, as can be seen from the middle picture, he spends a great deal of his time singing, so he has enough energy to try to establish a territory and find a mate. Good luck to him - but in the fiercely competitive world of the robin, the odds are stacked against him.

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