As I glanced out the kitchen window this morning, I wondered where all the robins were this winter. They normally don’t leave, although it’s been a very cold and snow-rich winter thus far. I have seen the blue jays and the cardinals, but the robins must be in hiding. We have American robins here– thrushes, as opposed to the European robin–which is a flycatcher. They often fly into the window panes during the summer, when the leaf canopy is thicker.
I then looked for articles that might contain interesting tidbits about robins, and so detoured through an article about cannibalistic redbreast sunfish which described how guardian males routinely eat offspring from their own nests.
Another article discussed the mechanisms by which birds know directions:
Scientists have come up with two theories. One is that birds are able to sense the magnetic field because of a magnetic receptor in their beaks; the other theory is that the birds have special chemicals in their eyes that allow them to actually see the magnetic field. (from this article),
and via Wikipedia:
The ability of birds to return to precise locations across vast distances has been known for some time; in an experiment conducted in the 1950s a Manx Shearwater released in Boston returned to its colony in Skomer, Wales, within 13 days, a distance of 5,150 km (3,200 mi). Birds navigate during migration using a variety of methods. For diurnal migrants, the sun is used to navigate by day, and a stellar compass is used at night. Birds that use the sun compensate for the changing position of the sun during the day by the use of an internal clock. Orientation with the stellar compass depends on the position of the constellations surrounding Polaris. These are backed up in some species by their ability to sense the Earth’s geomagnetism through specialised photoreceptors.
Via Wikipedia I spotted the olyf lyster, (sounds like an olive with ears) from South Africa.
I am about to migrate to warmer climes myself, so posting may cease for a while…