chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Tag Archives: robin

found poem: we learn

found poem: HEARING

winter visitors

American Robin Copyright © 2011, Alan D. WilsonI like robins. I like their warbling song and the funny way they tilt their heads to listen for earthworms. Until today, I’ve always thought of them as fairly solitary.

But here we are in the first week of December and a small gang of robins — at least seven of them — has spent the morning rushing around my yard. A stop in the juniper bush to imbibe some berries, a downward dash to the duff under the rhododendron, a quick swoop up to the bare plum tree, a rest in the maple on the parkway. Repeat.

At first I thought, No, those can’t be robins. Robins work alone. But, after a little research, Mr. Sibley assures me that flocking behavior is normal for wintering robins.

In years past, a different thrush — a Townsend’s Solitaire — has been a rare visitor to the same juniper bush, so perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me to discover this thrushy carousing right outside my window. They’re quiet drunks, these robins — not a gin-soaked singer among them — and if there’s a little tumbling as they land, or if the twigs on the maple are a little slippery under their feet, I’m happy they’ve decided to drink and dine at my humble establishment.

. . . . .
photo of an American Robin Copyright © 2011, Alan D. Wilson
(juniper berries are blue; the robin in this photo may be eating crabapples)

found poem: mother

signs of spring…

elkhorn cypress in April
The perfect greens of spring, scale precise upon scale, new growth bright as the robin chick’s gape, this hunger for air, for life, this urge to twirl the slowest waltz.

. . . . .
thujopsis dolabrata – elkhorn cypress


birdsnest spruce, early MayIt is so spring.

The sun creeps over the backyard fence to set the crabapple tree alight, a blaze of bright magenta.
The spruce is fringed with tiny tongues of green. Lilacs fatten in the neighbors’ yards. Robins warble at first light. Spiders cast their hungry nets.

A dog lays on her back on the grass, legs in the air, and twists back and forth.


nestIn the spring, about three years ago, a robin built her nest atop a beam in my backyard gazebo. She’d land on the fence with a scraggly bit of grass in her beak, assess the threat level and zoom in to weave the addition into her disheveled bowl. After a while, she spent less time flying and more time sitting, fluttering back to the safety of the fence whenever I walked through the yard.

The beam was dark and dry. Unfortunately, it was also well-trafficked by the resident black squirrels, who used it as their freeway to and from the bird feeder. Before long, bits of brilliant blue eggshell littered the ground amidst the leftover debris of nest building.

This morning, as I walked from the garage into the back yard, there was a loud thumping of wings and a flash of royal blue: a Steller’s Jay making a hurried escape from the nest area. Now I see that the robin has been at work again, rebuilding her messy nest in the angle of a truss barely a foot below the derelict remains of the earlier structure.

The jay, whose presence does not bode well for baby robins, scolds me from the branches of the crabapple tree, then the roof, then the fence. Chickadees, kinglets and a flicker call and sing among the raindrops. The robin is nowhere to be seen.

%d bloggers like this: