Last week, I saw a robin in the shrub outside the kitchen window. He was eating berries and appeared to be looking at me. Since we’ve had more than our share of bitterly cold days, I could hardly believe my eyes. Just to be sure, I grabbed my well-worn bird book and tripled checked the guide for all the signs: feather markings, beak, and tail. Sure enough, it was the beloved harbinger of Spring, an American Robin!
An indispensable guide for bird identification is Peterson Field Guides’ Eastern Birds. I adore its colorful illustrations, coded maps, and succinct descriptions. Another great resource for birders is the website sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: http://www.feederwatch.org In addition to information found in a good book, I love the site’s bird calls. It adds another dimension to the joy of bird identification.
The folks at the Lab were swift to respond to my observation and confirm the sighting. Best of all, that first sighting was no fluke. Since that day, I have seen robins in groups of 2s and 3s. So hold on, folks, Spring is just around the corner–at least in Northern Illinois.