For Christmas this year grandson Asher gave my husband a book on birds ~ What the Robin Knows, by Jon Young. We enjoy feeding birds at our house and already have five feeders in the back yard that are continually emptied and refilled. I have ‘Bird Seed’ on my grocery list as often as I have milk, butter and eggs.
I’ve decided to read a bit of this charming book myself every evening. I’ve found that the Robin is the back yard sentinel, with alarms and alerts that are called out to other birds when predators or intruders are about – cats, dogs, hawks, squirrels, even man. Each bird has several different sounds they can make, including sounds of alarm. Who knew?
The book says the robins sit high in trees so they can survey a wide area of landscape, always watchful for intruders. Some birds that nest on the ground need this kind of overview protective warnings. I’ve also learned that black birds are a first cousin of the robin – a black bird is a robin that is black. Do I think this book is amazing? The answer is definitely yes!
A couple of things I’ve learned about birds from this book are funny. Last May we had a Mocking Bird nesting in our Japanese Maple at the front door, near my office window where we have a twin bed for company. A friend visiting from Spokane said ‘that bird’ kept her awake. I laughed today learning a Mocking bird is a bird that will chirp and squawk as much as 16 or 17 hours a day and sometimes more. I told my friend we should never again have a guest in that front bedroom in May!
Another thing I’ve learned from this book is how necessary it is for birds to conserve energy each day. The author asks the reader to imagine ‘living off of the landscape’ around our houses,which is what the birds must do daily – live off of the landscape. If a bird is frightened and takes a sudden flight away from its roosting place for the night due to an encroaching predator, it will expend so much energy that a small bird like a chickadee might well be dead the next morning. That’s an alarming thought but makes me more aware of being quiet and careful around birds.
I am enjoying this book so much I’ve started making notes to type up and share. And I am not even finished with the first chapter. I can’t think of a better Christmas gift, ever! Thank you, Asher. You pick out wonderful Christmas gifts.
No robins here yet but your post encourages me to keep watching. In fact, I may want to repost your Robins story on my blog next month. May I?
Sorry it took me awhile to find this post. Thank you, for sure, for your kind words, and absolutely you have my permission to repost this Robins’ story on your blog next month. Such a kindness, and I hope your readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed reading it. This really was a delightful small book. Always nice to have something like that to give a friend who might be side-lined for a bit.
Thank you again. Ruth
You’re welcome, Ruth! And thanks for permission to repost on my garden blog in April.