It was February in Illinois the year 2009. The winter was dragging on and it was still very cold. A little farther south things were much different. It was warmer and the winds blew from the south. A group of birds were on a fence chirping about their spring migration. A little robin was listening in earnest...she had never traveled north before and wanted to get in on the conversation. "When do we leave?" she said. The bluebird was chirping about her home in Byron. "The man of the house has built me a row of wonderful houses....I may choose one of those this year." The robin thought about this for a moment. The wrens chirped...."We wait till later...we heard that we are the lady of the house's favorite....we can live in any house. We just move in and tell the previous owner they'll have to move." The robin thought that sounded rather selfish. Some finches who spent the winter south were there talking about the way they lived. "We build nests out of debris and put the nest any place we want. Last year our nest was on the front porch light fixture...we drove the man of the house crazy, because he wanted to replace the light and the lady of the house made him wait." A nest thought the robin...that brings back memories. She remembered living in a cozy nest with her brother and sister. Mom and Dad would bring tasty treats and sat with them to keep them warm. She remembered the day that Mom said she should try out her wings and what a wonderful feeling that was to be free and flying. The ground was full of tasty bugs and worms. Ahhhh, worms...the best. She got so excited that she decided to leave right away, to get back to her home. The other birds waved her off and chirped to themselves....foolish bird. It was not a very long trip, but the weather was cooler. Upon arriving in Illinois, she noticed the trees had a film of ice on the branches. It made for slippery hopping. She had to take care and thought that maybe she should stay on the ground. The ground was covered with snow...hard snow. "Oh, dear...she chirped....I've come too soon...what will I do?" Suddenly she saw a house just a few feet away. It looked very familiar to her. "Yes, she chirped, '"that's where I was born." She hurried to the house and saw that it was all closed up. No windows open....door closed. She remembered the lady of the house in the window, in the mornings, watching and listening for the first robin song. She remembered the couple sitting on the park bench in the evening, watching the robins antics...pulling up worms and tipping their heads to the ground to listen. The bench was gone. She flew around to the back yard and landed on the deck railing. The bird feeder was swinging in the wind. She hopped on and gave a faint little robin call. All of a sudden the woman, in the house, heard this chirp....she ran to the patio window and shouted, "Dear....the robin is here. What will we do? She is much too early to find food to eat. How will she survive?" The woman of the house ran to her cupboard and got all manner of things for this creature to try. There were raisins, cranberries, oatmeal, and a new seed with nuts and berries. The little robin breathed a sigh of relief and said, " Ahhhh, I'll do just fine....I have her wrapped around my little wing." The robin is doing just fine, I'm glad to say. She will live on to build her nest and raise her young, There is a moral to this story....The early bird gets the worm.
( I had to say it)
The story in the paper yesterday was about warming trends sending birds north. It told about temps changing and the birds staying here in the north throughout the winter. They attribute this shift to global warming. They said that of the 305 species of birds in North America are spending the winter about 35 miles farther north than they did 40 years ago. Bird ranges can shift for many reasons...urban sprawl, deforestation, supplemental feeding by backyard bird feeders, but the main reason for such a big change is global warming...they say. Something to think about.