Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend visitors

Bermtopia has been in a deep freeze -- literally. The 12+ inches of snow that fell Wednesday night has been followed by a lovely sub-zero chaser, meaning temperatures have been preceded by a minus sign since Thursday.

In situations like this, I do what I do best -- go to ground. Cooking, reading, puttering. The operative word, inside.

Well, except for the (much abbreviated) morning walk with Ben. The "much abbreviated" is by mutual consent, I should add. Subzero temperatures combined with ice and snow give Ben the opportunity to try out some pretty creative "dance moves" as he tries to minimize contact with frigid sidewalks. When he starts tippy-toeing (and, trust me, dogs CAN tippy-toe), I know it's time to head home. Oh, that and the fact my right foot is numb.

You would think the freezing temperatures and requisite wind chill would drive our fine feathered friends into the depths of trees and shrubs for shelter. Quite to the contrary. The last two mornings, Ben and I have been rewarded with cacophonous bird song -- the constant nattering of sparrows, the goldfinches' soft sigh and the sharp, imperious language of robins. Their dazzling aerial displays of their avian derring-do leave me a little dizzy. And the backyard cherry tree, aka Seed Sock Central, has been entertaining visitors almost non-stop.

Including the robins. They've been around for a few weeks now, but largely transient until this weekend. Aside from quick forays into the neighborhood looking for food, they've kept a low profile. (Not they seem to need the extra calories -- the guys I'm seeing are downright portly.)

But this weekend, the robins appear to have decided to sit and stay a spell -- in our cherry tree.

Four, five land at a time, fluff themselves up into fantastic balls of burnt orange and hunker down on the tree's branches.

Umm, do you think this branch makes me look fat?

I think they find the sight of the sparrows, finches and nuthatches swinging back and forth on the seed socks as they feed quite entertaining. Throw in an occasional territorial spat and it's golden. Good times, good times.

Why the sudden interest in our cherry tree?

My theory is this -- they've been cadging lady apples off the neighbor's tree one house down and need a spot to digest their feast. That and they're so chubby a nearby rest area is a necessity before continuing on to wherever robins go.

Avian obesity issues notwithstanding, I welcome the robins each spring. The bright flash of color they bring to our current monochromatic world is energizing. And the sound of their sharp chatter makes me smile.

Welcome home, boys. And, please, stay as long as you like.


  1. are those cherries still on the tree?! in winter?

    that picture of the robins on the...road? ...looks like a painting. those birds really do look FAT.

  2. Not cherries -- lady apples, aka crab apples or ???, they're little ornamental apples. Although you can pickle/preserve them and they're delicious with poultry . . . stop I'm wandering.

    The corpulent robins? I can't tell you what they do for MY self-esteem.