Earth Journal:

Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Good Night: A Robin's Return

by M.L. Faunce

"In case I don't see you: Good afternoon, good evening and good night," the robin seemed to say, alighting momentarily on my deck railing before flashing by like Jim Carrey in the movie The Truman Show.

Seed I put out early in the morning generally draws the usual cast of characters, cardinals most colorfully. But this Sunday, an early bird signaled its arrival, if not spring's, by brilliantly boasting its own red breast.

When robins are here in season, they typically feed on the ground and rarely venture to higher ground where birds of long standing perch and flying squirrels putz. The robin's foods of choice are fat, juicy worms and creepy, crawly creatures plucked from the soft earth. Who needs all that fiber?

Robins seem to hug the ground no matter where they are. Like fingers on the Yellow Pages, migrating robins must walk all the way south to north, as spring advances, with only tiny flitting flights amid all those steps.

Maybe my sister was right. Her recent phone call got me thinking, as her calls usually do. We always seem to start out talking about the weather and nature before going on to family news. She had robins in her yard, she said, adding with a sigh: "Six more weeks and spring will be here." She's not acquainted with any ground hogs, and she lives in the Deep South. Her sigh made me realize that winter is all relative; it's a state of mind no matter where you live.

Maybe I called an over-wintering robin forth from the woods by raking my yard clean of winter's debris. My few hours of energy spent on Saturday clearing dry Bay grasses and fallen twigs and branches motivated a neighbor to do the same. Word spread, and yards were cleaned down the line.

I don't like to boast, but if you want to see robin's red breast early this spring, let your rake do the walking in your yard. And if I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night.

| Issue 7 |

VolumeVII Number 7
February 18-24, 1999
New Bay Times

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