Just this morning my father noted that "the Robins are back". I almost hated to break the news, they were probably never gone. Many of our American Robins over-winter in wood lots, especially where fruit is prolific.
If one ever desired winter Robin watching, Secrest Arboretum is the place to go. The numerous crab apple and decorative fruit trees are a magnet for these winter frugivores. American Robins are forced to have a diet shift, from worms (and grubs) to fruit, during the winter months.
Take a few extra minutes to really study your local Robins. Have you ever noted they have an eye-ring? Or white under-tail coverts? These beautiful singers from the Thrush family deserve your second look.
Whoa! Pine Siskins are here, taking a winter vacation from Canada. We found a small flock of them acrobatically feeding on the Sweetgum trees, Liquidambar styraciflua . Remember, birds have to eat; find them where they feed. The siskins could have easily been dismissed as American Goldfinches, but the stripey chest and wing bars tells the tale. A life bird for several in our group.
This walk was the first we have been back in Secrest since last year's devastating tornadoes swept through. Many buildings and trees were broken and twisted, and the clean up has taken many months. There are still signs of the wind damage, as shown in this photo of giant pines snapped off like tooth-picks. However, Secrest is actively rebuilding and welcomes visitors again.
The very business of nature is constant change. Birth, growth, life, and death... a never ending cycle. I hope you will join us on one of our scheduled walks this coming year, and witness the re-birth of this amazing botanical jewel.