Longing For Robins by Dorothy Belle Malcolm

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

It has been 10 years since I’ve seen a robin in my yard. When they came then, it was an amazing sight which I have cherished. Once there was a Baltimore Oriole, however, that was many years ago. In the meantime, there are a variety that come to my feeder and the neighborhood for which I am happy about and keep food out for them.

Puzzle by a window ©Pxhere

I sit at a table which always has a puzzle on it, and if I don’t make sudden moves, I enjoy watching them. Of course the Sandhill Cranes walk around the neighborhood, The Cooper’s Hawks and Crows don’t come to my yard, but I see them in the trees as I walk.

The regular visitors are Blue Jays, Red-winged Blackbirds, Red-headed Woodpecker, Turtle Doves, Titmice, and Sparrows.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)by Raymond Barlow

American Robin)by Raymond Barlow

In my heart I’m longing for the joy of seeing just one Robin. Maybe it will happen this spring.

2/22/19 Dorothy Malcolm

“But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” (John 11:22 KJV)

Lee’s Addition:

It has been awhile since Dottie (Dorothy) has written an article for us. I asked her if she would like to write another one. Here is her latest birdwatching desire. The verse is one I have used while birdwatching. I have asked the Lord to please have the bird in that bush come out where I can see it better. Maybe even take a photo. Not surprising, some have appeared to my delight. I think the Lord cares about our desires, especially when observing His Creation. Dottie, we are praying that the Lord will let some Robins land in your yard when they start migrating back north this spring. Stay Tuned!

If you have missed some of Dottie (Dorothy’s) stories, they are listed below. She is also Emma Foster’s grandmother. Humm! Wonder if that is where Emma started her interest in her birdwatching tales? Emma’s Stories

Dorothy (Dottie) Belle Malcolm’s:

Abigail and the Pumpkin Carving Contest

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Female-©WikiC

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Female-©WikiC

Abigail and the Pumpkin Carving Contest ~ by Emma Foster

Once there was a small Robin named Abigail who lived in a tiny nest in a massive oak tree by a pumpkin patch. As autumn steadily approached, more and more red and yellow leaves fell into Abigail’s nest. Every day Abigail pushed them off down into the pumpkin patch on top of the growing pumpkins. Eventually, Abigail noticed that most of the pumpkins had grown really large and the leaves no longer covered them up.


Several families began coming to the pumpkin patch near Abigail’s nest. The parents picked heavy round pumpkins to take home to carve. Sometimes the owners of the pumpkin patch would come and teach some of the children how to carve a small pumpkin of their very own. One day Abigail decided that she should carve her own pumpkin for Halloween.

Flapping down into the pumpkin patch, Abigail surveyed a small pumpkin left alone in the corner. Carefully watching to see how the kids carved their pumpkins with small knives, Abigail began to carefully peck with her beak to make a small hole. She decided that this would be the eye. Abigail pecked out an identical hole next to it and another hole underneath the two, making the other eye and nose. Lastly, Abigail pecked out a long wide oval to substitute as the mouth. But looking around, she noticed that several children were cutting a hole in the top of their pumpkins and pulling out seeds. Abigail followed them, pecking until she could pull off the top by the stem with her beak. Abigail began pulling out gobs of seeds and pumpkin insides with her beak. This proved to be her favorite part because of how much she loved pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkins Tasty Bird ©Nipomo Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkins Tasty Bird ©Nipomo Pumpkin Patch

After triumphantly finishing her pumpkin, Abigail realized how late it was. Almost everyone had already gone, but one of the owners was nailing a sign up on a telephone pole. Flying over to it, Abigail read the sign. The sign read: PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST THIS SATURDAY.

Abigail grew excited. Today was Monday. If she began practicing, she could carve a pumpkin good enough to enter the contest.

Wind up Bird Pumpkin ©Daneof5683

Wind up Bird Pumpkin ©Daneof5683

For the next several days, Abigail spent most of the day carving pumpkins until pumpkins with all kinds of faces were scattered about the pumpkin patch. When the contest day arrived, Abigail rolled her best-carved pumpkin over to the judges who had gathered near the crowd as the contest began.

Everyone in the crowd was astonished that a bird had entered a carved pumpkin in the contest, but the contest continued as planned. Abigail waited patiently as the judges examined each of the carved pumpkins by each of the participants, and eventually the winner of the contest was called. Abigail did not win the contest, but she had fun anyway. She considered the most fun part of the day was giving away the rest of her carved pumpkins to each of the contestants.

Pumpkin Inspector came by to check out Abrigail's Pumpkins.

Pumpkin Inspector came by to check out Abigail’s Pumpkins.

From then on, Abigail entered the contest every year. She even won a few times. She was sure to carve a pumpkin for each of the contestants in the contest whether she won or not. For Abigail, the best part of carving the pumpkins and giving them away was being able to eat the pumpkin seeds.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) ©Laura Erickson

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) ©Laura Erickson

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 KJV)

(Photos added by Lee. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist these photos. I just imagine Abigail’s Pumpkins had to be rather fancy.)


See Emma’s Other Stories

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-bellied Robin/Flyrobin

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-bellied Robin ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 8-7-15

If your familiar with Australian birds you might assume – initially – that this photo was taken in an Australian rainforest, though you might have trouble pinning down the actual species.

Yellow-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca or Eopsaltria flaviventis) by Ian

Its dumpy shape and short tail suggested strongly to me the Pale-yellow Robin (Tregellasio capito) of coastal eastern Australia, second photo, but the colour pattern on the breast is more like the Western Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria griseogularis) of coastal southwestern Australia (no photo, sorry). It’s behaviour was very like that of the Pale-yellow Robin, often perching at precipitous angles on steep branches on the vertical trunks of trees.

Pale-yellow Robin (Tregellasia capito) by Ian

In fact I assumed that it was in the same genus as the Pale-Yellow (Tregellasio) and was surprised the find later that it was either in the same genus as the Eastern and Western Yellow Robins (Eopsaltria) or in the process of being moved to Microeca, the genus that includes the Jacky Winter, the Lemon-bellied and Yellow-legged Flycatchers or Flyrobins as the purists would have, being Australasian Robins. The reason for the move is based on genetic studies (Loynes et al , 2007).

Yellow-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca or Eopsaltria flaviventis) by Ian

The fourth photo shows the Lemon-bellied Flycatcher/Flyrobin for comparison; it featured as bird of the week almost exactly ten years ago.

Lemon-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca flavigaster) by Ian

When we were in New Caledonia, I was intrigued by the call of the Yellow-bellied (Fly)robin. It didn’t sound like the Pale-yellow Robin or the any of the Yellow Robins, all of which have rather monotonous repeated calls. The Yellow-bellied sounded rather like the rhythmic ‘squeaky bicycle wheel’ songs of the unrelated Gerygones. It does, however, sound rather like that of the Lemon-bellied Flycatcher/Flyrobin, however, which supports the genetic analysis and the subsequent taxonomic switch. If you want to compare them, you can do so here http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Microeca-flavigaster and http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Microeca-flaviventris.

Both these web pages show distribution maps, so it would be interesting to speculate whether the ancestors of the Yellow-bellied got to New Caledonia from New Guinea or from Australia. Either way they’d either have had to do some island hopping or got carried across by one of the many cyclones that track from east to west across the southwestern Pacific.

Yellow-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca or Eopsaltria flaviventis) by Ian

Anyway, enough about taxonomy and back to the original point about similarities between the birds of Australia and those of New Caledonia. So far, the birds of the week have dealt with the more unusual ones that represent either families (the Kagu) or genera (Horned Parakeet, Crow Honeyeater) not found in Australia. Most of the other endemic species have counterparts in the same genus in Australia. That had its own fascination coming across familiar-looking but different species but we were left in no doubt that we were still in the Australasian ecozone. To handle this on the Birdway website, the original Australian section – which became Australia and New Zealand after 2012 – is now becoming the Australasian section and I’ve put a map of the ecozone on the home page to support this.

I’ve more or less finished putting the New Caledonian bird photos on the website: http://www.birdway.com.au/index.htm#updates. Here are links to some species with Australian counterparts that probably won’t feature as bird of the week that may be of interest:


P.S. (Be warned: this is a commercial break!) If you’ve ever been to Northern Queensland, might ever go there or are interested in the region (who couldn’t be?) then your life isn’t complete without the ebook Where to Find Birds in Northeastern Queensland. The price ranges from AUD13.22 on Google Play to AUD22.00 in the Apple iTunes Store.

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern QueenslandiTunes; Google Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee’s Addition:

What an adorable little Flyrobin. As Ian said, the name Robin or Flyrobin is in flux. When I check the I.O.C. list, which is what this blog uses, the Microeca flavivetris is called the Yellow-bellied Flyrobin.

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. (Genesis 2:19-20 NKJV)

Wonder is Adam kept changing the names.? While checking out the I.O.C., I realized that the new 5.3 version is out. Guess I’ll have to start updating the site again. :) or maybe it is :(


Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Birdway Site

Good News


Sunday Inspiration – Australian Robin and Friends

Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus) ©WikiC

Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus) ©WikiC

“The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, The Rock of my salvation! (2 Samuel 22:47 NKJV)

This week’s birds from their Creator include the Petroicidae – Australasian Robins, Picathartidae – RockfowlChaetopidae – Rockjumpers and the Eupetidae – Rail-babbler Families.

The Robins are all endemic to Australasia: New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and numerous Pacific Islands as far east as Samoa. For want of an accurate common name, the family is often called the Australasian robins. There are 46 members presently. They are not related to our American Robin.

Flame Robin by Ian

Flame Robin by Ian

Most species have a compact build with a large, rounded head, a short, straight bill, and rounded wingtips. They occupy a wide range of wooded habitats, from subalpine to tropical rainforest, and mangrove swamps to semi-arid scrubland. All are primarily insectivorous, although a few supplement their diet with seeds. Hunting is mostly by perch and pounce, a favoured tactic being to cling sideways onto a treetrunk and scan the ground below without moving.

They have long-term pair-bonds and small family groups. Most members practice cooperative breeding, with all family members helping defend a territory and feed nestlings. Nests are cup-shaped, usually constructed by the female, and often placed in a vertical fork of a tree or shrub. Many species are expert at adding moss, bark or lichen to the outside of the nest as camouflage, making it very difficult to spot, even when it is in a seemingly prominent location.

White-necked Rockfowl (Picathartes gymnocephalus) cc Ross@Texas

White-necked Rockfowl (Picathartes gymnocephalus) cc Ross@Texas

The White-necked and Grey-necked Rockfowls are the only members of the Picatharitidae family. They are also called “bald crows’ and are found in the rain-forests of tropical west and central Africa. They have unfeathered heads, and feed on insects and invertebrates picked from damp rocky areas. Both species are totally non-migratory, being dependent on a specialised rocky jungle habitat.

They are large (33–38 centimetres (13–15 in) long) passerines with crow-like black bills, long neck, tail and legs. They weigh between 200–250 grams (7.1–8.8 oz). The strong feet and grey legs are adapted to terrestrial movement, and the family progresses through the forest with long bounds on the ground. The wings are long but are seldom used for long flights. Rockfowl are generalized feeders, taking a wide range of invertebrate prey.

Drakensberg Rockjumper (Chaetops aurantius) by ©WikiC

He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. (Deuteronomy 32:4 NKJV)

The Rockjumpers are medium-sized insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Chaetops, which constitutes the entire family Chaetopidae. The two species, the Cape Rockjumper,, and the Drakensberg Rockjumper, are endemic residents of southern Africa. The Cape Rockjumper is a resident of the West Cape and SW East Cape, and the Orange-breasted (or Drakensberg) Rockjumper is distributed in the Lesotho highlands and areas surrounding this in South Africa. These are birds with mostly brown and red plumage. Both with long, white tipped black tails, black throats, broad white submoustachial lines, rufous or orange bellies and rumps and grey and black patterned backs and wings.[The iris is red and the bills and legs are black. Their wings are very small and they do not fly very often. They spend most of their lives running and jumping among rocks and grasses while hunting insects.

Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) by Peter Ericsson

Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) by Peter Ericsson

The Rail-babbler or Malaysian Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) is a strange, rail-like, brown and pied inhabitant of the floor of primary forest in the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra (the nominate subspecies macrocerus), as well as Borneo (ssp. borneensis), distantly related to African crow-like birds. Its population has greatly decreased, however, it is locally still common in logged forest or on hill-forest on slopes. The species is poorly known and rarely seen, in no small part due to its shyness.

(Most information from Wikipedia)


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“Hiding in the Shadow of the Rock” ~ © Dr. Richard Gregory (Used with permission)

Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. (Isaiah 32:2 ESV)


Picnic In February

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  by Dan

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Dan

Picnic In February ~ by Dorothy Malcolm

It’s open to all who wish to come. So some find it so and make it a habit to always be around every day–the Blue Jays, a pain of Cardinals, Red-winged Blackbirds, Doves and squirrels. In the winter months, Titmouse, Pine Warblers and occasionally Blackbirds add to the mix.

Today started out rather ordinary with Bible reading, breakfast, a few pills, letting Ruby my dog in and out of the house several times and talking myself into going to the bank and grocery.

After lunch Ruby and I went out for her afternoon walk. After this I started pricing things for a garage sale that will be sometime this spring. I just happen ed to look out the patio door and saw a most glorious sight – ROBINS!

Time just stopped for me. I was totally taken in by the sight of them. Where they came from it is obvious they had a great time because they looked really good and healthy. Their feathers looked as smooth and soft as velvet. Hopping, stopping, looking, flicking leaves, talking – oh, what a great time they and I were having – by now I’m just quietly looking out a small back bathroom window where I could get a better view.

What then! It is my daughter asking on behalf of her daughter how Ruby is doing. So I gave a quick report and then excitedly told her about the Robins. Soon as I could I hung up and got back to the little window only to hear two gunshots in the neighborhood.

But why now! I’ve heard this a few days in the past week, but am real unhappy about it now!

Of course the Robins flew off. Well they and I had great joy for a short time until someone spoiled the picnic!

Is this not the way some things are in our lives? But what joy there will be in the future when we will have a forever picnic in the presence of the Lord. There will be a new heaven and new earth that will not be spoiled by anyone or anything. It will be awesome and I suspect it will include birds along with many awesome creatures and all of God’s redeemed!

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:5 KJV)

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2 Peter 3:11-13 KJV)


American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Dan at Bok Sanctuary

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Dan at Bok Sanctuary

See Dorothy Malcolm’s Other articles:


(P.S. This was written in February, but I just now worked it up. Sorry, Dottie)

The Cardinal Bird And The Robin

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) by Daves BirdingPix

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) by Daves BirdingPix


“The cardinal bird,” said daddy, “is a very superior bird and will not come down to the ground. The lowest he will come is to a bush, but he never hops along the woods or lawns, no, not he!

“One day Robin Redbreast was walking on a green lawn. He stopped several times to pick up a worm from the ground, swallow it whole and then walk along. In a tree nearby he spied the cardinal bird.

“‘Hello,’ he said cheerily. ‘Won’t you come and have a worm with me? There are a number in this lawn, and the good rain we had last night has made the ground so nice and soft. Do join me,’ he ended with a bright chirp.

“‘No, thank you,’ said the cardinal bird. ‘I wouldn’t soil my feet on that ground. I hate the ground, absolutely hate it.’ And the cardinal bird looked very haughty and proud.

“‘Come now,’ said Robin Redbreast, ‘you won’t get your feet dirty. And if you do,’ he whispered knowingly, ‘I can lead you to the nicest brook where you can wash them off with fresh rain water. Do come!’

“‘I cannot,’ said the cardinal bird. ‘I do not like the earth. I want to be flying in the air, or sitting on the branches of trees. Sometimes I will perch for a little while on a laurel bush—but come any lower? Dear me, no, I couldn’t.’

“‘It’s a great shame,’ said Robin Redbreast. ‘Of course there is no accounting for taste.’

“‘Thank you for inviting me,’ added the cardinal bird politely. For he prided himself on his good manners.

“Pretty soon some people came along. At once they noticed the beautiful cardinal bird. He wore his best red suit which he wears all the time—except in the winter, when he adds gray to his wings. His collar and tie were of black and his feathers stuck up on top of his head so as to make him look very stylish and fine.

“‘Oh, what a wonderful bird!’ said the people. Mr. Cardinal Bird knew they were admiring him, of course—and so did Robin Redbreast. No one had noticed him, but he didn’t care, for he knew Mr. Cardinal Bird was by far the more beautiful, and a robin hasn’t a mean disposition.

“Well, when the cardinal bird heard the praise he began to sing—a glorious high voice he had, and he sounded his clear notes over and over again. Then suddenly he stopped, cocked his head on one side, as though to say,

“‘And what do you think of me now?’

“From down on the ground Robin Redbreast had been listening. ‘Oh, that was wonderful, wonderful!’ he trilled.

“‘Listen to that dear little robin,’ said one of the people. ‘I must get him some bread crumbs.’

“When the bread crumbs were scattered over the ground, Robin Redbreast invited the cardinal bird down again thinking they were for him! But the beautiful, proud bird would not come down, and the people were saying, ‘After all there is nothing quite so nice as a dear little robin.'”

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian


Lee’s Addition:

When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2 NKJV)

Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father. (1 John 2:16 CEV)

I think our Cardinal friend in this story was just a little bit too proud. Our friendly Robin was trying hard to offer the Cardinal a good meal and to encourage our Red bird. Do we act more like the Cardinal or the Robin?

(Also: Cardinals in real life do not show false pride.)


Another Bird Tales


Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories – Gutenberg ebooks


Mary Graham Bonner

With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis

Daddys Bedtime Story Images


These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.

Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.

Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner - 1917

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner – 1917



Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr



  Bird Tales






  Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories




Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC


  Wordless Birds





Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) - ©WikiC



  Cardinalidae – Grosbeaks, Saltators & Allies Family



American Robin (Turdus migratorius) eating by Jim Fenton


Turdidae – Thrushes Family


Birds Vol 1 #2 – The American Robin

American Robin for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

American Robin for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. February, 1897 No. 2



The Bird of the Morning.

Yes, my dear readers, I am the bird of the morning. Very few of you rise early enough to hear my first song. By the time you are awake our little ones have had their breakfast, Mrs. Robin and I have had our morning bath and we are all ready to greet you with our morning song.

I wonder if any of you have seen our nest and can tell the color of the eggs that Mrs. Robin lays. Some time I will let you peep into the nest and see them, but of course you will not touch them.

I wonder, too, if you know any of my cousins—the Mocking bird, the Cat-bird or the Brown Thrush—I think I shall ask them to have their pictures taken soon and talk to you about our happy times.

Did you ever see one of my cousins on the ground? I don’t believe you can tell how I move about. Some of you may say I run, and some of you may say I hop, and others of you may say I do both. Well, I’ll tell you how to find out. Just watch me and see. My little friends up north won’t be able to see me though until next month, as I do not dare leave the warm south until Jack Frost leaves the ground so I can find worms to eat.

I shall be about the first bird to visit you next month and I want you to watch for me. When I do come it will be to stay a long time, for I shall be the last to leave you. Just think, the first to come and last to leave. Don’t you think we ought to be great friends? Let us get better acquainted when next we meet. Your friend,

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Eggs and 1 hatchling ©©SenzEnina

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Eggs and 1 hatchling ©©SenzEnina

How do the robins build their nest?
Robin Red Breast told me,
First a wisp of yellow hay
In a pretty round they lay;
Then some shreds of downy floss,
Feathers too, and bits of moss,
Woven with a sweet, sweet song,
This way, that way, and across:
That’s what Robin told me.

Where do the robins hide their nest?
Robin Red Breast told me,
Up among the leaves so deep,
Where the sunbeams rarely creep,
Long before the winds are cold,
Long before the leaves are gold
Bright-eyed stars will peep and see
Baby Robins—one, two, three:
That’s what Robin told me.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Raymond Barlow

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Raymond Barlow


“Come, sweetest of the feathered throng.”




UR American Robin must not be confounded with the English Robin Redbreast, although both bear the same name. It is the latter bird in whose praise so much has been written in fable and song. The American Robin belongs to the Thrush family; the Mocking bird, Cat-bird and Brown Thrush, or Thrasher, being other familiar children. In this family, bird organization reaches its highest development. This bird is larger than his English cousin the Redbreast and many think has a finer note than any other of the Thrush family.

The Robin courts the society of man, following close upon the plow and the spade and often becoming quite tame and domestic. It feeds for a month or two on strawberries and cherries, but generally on worms and insects picked out of the ground. It destroys the larvae of many insects in the soil and is a positive blessing to man, designed by the Creator for ornament and pleasure, and use in protecting vegetation. John Burroughs, the bird lover, says it is the most native and democratic of our birds.

It is widely diffused over the country, migrating to milder climates in the Winter. We have heard him in the early dawn on Nantucket Island welcoming the coming day, in the valleys of the Great and the little Miami, in the parks of Chicago, and on the plains of Kansas, his song ever cheering and friendly. It is one of the earliest heralds of Spring, coming as early as March or April, and is one of the latest birds to leave us in Autumn. Its song is a welcome prelude to the general concert of Summer.

“When Robin Redbreast sings,
We think on budding Springs.”

The Robin is not one of our most charming songsters, yet its carol is sweet, hearty and melodious. Its principal song is in the morning before sunrise, when it mounts the top of some tall tree, and with its wonderful power of song, announces the coming of day. When educated, it imitates the sounds of various birds, and even sings tunes. It must be amusing to hear it pipe out so solemn a strain as Old Hundred.

American Robin’s Song from xeno.canto by Mike Nelson

It has no remarkable habits. It shows considerable courage and anxiety for its young, and is a pattern of propriety when keeping house and concerned with the care of its offspring. Two broods are often reared out of the same nest. In the Fall these birds become restless and wandering, often congregating in large flocks, when, being quite fat, they are much esteemed as food.

The Robin’s nest is sometimes built in a corner of the porch, but oftener it is saddled on the horizontal limb of an orchard tree. It is so large and poorly concealed that any boy can find it, yet it is seldom molested. The Robin is not a skillful architect. The masonry of its nest is rough and the material coarse, being composed largely of leaves or old grass, cemented with mud. The eggs number four to six and are greenish blue in color.

An observer tells the following story of this domestic favorite:

“For the last three years a Robin has nested on a projecting pillar that supports the front piazza. In the Spring of the first year she built her nest on the top of the pillar—a rude affair—it was probably her first effort. The same season she made her second nest in the forks of an Oak, which took her only a few hours to complete.

“She reared three broods that season; for the third family she returned to the piazza, and repaired the first nest. The following Spring she came again to the piazza, but selected another pillar for the site of her domicile, the construction of which was a decided improvement upon the first. For the next nest she returned to the Oak and raised a second story on the old one of the previous year, but making it much more symmetrical than the one beneath. The present season her first dwelling was as before, erected on a pillar of the piazza—as fine a structure as I ever saw this species build. When this brood was fledged she again repaired to the Oak, and reared a third story on the old domicile, using the moss before mentioned, making a very elaborate affair, and finally finishing up by festooning it with long sprays of moss. This bird and her mate were quite tame. I fed them with whortleberries, which they seemed to relish, and they would come almost to my feet to get them.”

The amount of food which the young robin is capable of absorbing is enormous. A couple of vigorous, half-grown birds have been fed, and in twelve hours devoured ravenously, sixty-eight earth worms, weighing thirty-four pennyweight, or forty-one per cent more than their own weight. A man at this rate should eat about seventy pounds of flesh per day, and drink five or six gallons of water.

The following poem by the good Quaker poet Whittier is sweet because he wrote it, interesting because it recites an old legend which incidentally explains the color of the robin’s breast, and unique because it is one of the few poems about our American bird.


My old Welsh neighbor over the way
Crept slowly out in the sun of spring,
Pushed from her ears the locks of gray,
And listened to hear the robin sing.

Her grandson, playing at marbles, stopped,
And—cruel in sport, as boys will be—
Tossed a stone at the bird, who hopped
From bough to bough in the apple tree.

“Nay!” said the grandmother; “have you not heard,
My poor, bad boy! of the fiery pit,
And how, drop by drop, this merciful bird
Carries the water that quenches it?

“He brings cool dew in his little bill,
And lets it fall on the souls of sin:
You can see the mark on his red breast still
Of fires that scorch as he drops it in.

“My poor Bron rhuddyn! my breast-burned bird,
Singing so sweetly from limb to limb,
Very dear to the heart of Our Lord
Is he who pities the lost like Him.”

“Amen!” I said to the beautiful myth;
“Sing, bird of God, in my heart as well:
Each good thought is a drop wherewith
To cool and lessen the fires of hell.

“Prayers of love like rain-drops fall,
Tears of pity are cooling dew,
And dear to the heart of Our Lord are all
Who suffer like Him in the good they do.”

Lee’s Addition:

Robins have always been special. I suppose it was one of the first birds that I knew by name. Not that I was a birdwatcher back in my youth. Wish I had started back then.

Like the article mentioned, the American Robin is actually in the Turdidae – Thrushes Family of Passerines which has 184 members. There is another family of Robins and they are in the Chats, Old World Flycatchers – Muscicapidae Family which has 297 species. Wikipedia has this to say about these Robins:

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by Robert Scanlon

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by Robert Scanlon

“The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), most commonly known in Anglophone Europe simply as the Robin, is a small insectivorous passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family (Turdidae), but is now considered to be an Old World flycatcher (Muscicapidae). Around 12.5–14.0 cm (5.0–5.5 in) in length, the male and female are similar in colouration, with an orange breast and face lined with grey, brown upperparts and a whitish belly. It is found across Europe, east to Western Siberia and south to North Africa; it is sedentary in most of its range except the far north.

The term Robin is also applied to some birds in other families with red or orange breasts. These include the American Robin (Turdus migratorius), which is a thrush, and the Australian red robins of the genus Petroica, members of a family whose relationships are unclear.” They are the Petroicidae – Australasian Robins Family with 46 species.

Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang) by Ian

Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang) by Ian

Hope you enjoy seeing the three different “Robin Families.” I am thankful the the Lord let at least three different continents have their very own “Robin.” He told the birds to multiply and fill up the earth. They seemed to have obeyed, were we that obedient.

Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark. (Genesis 8:17-19 NKJV)


Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 February 1897 No 2 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 February 1897 No 2 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction

The above article is the first article in the monthly serial for February 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Kingfisher – The Lone Fisherman

Previous Article – King Parrot Or King Lory

ABC’s of the Gospel


An Ad:

Ads for Desk and Pens - 1897

Ads for Desk and Pens – 1897

Return Of The Robins – by Dorothy (Dot) Belle Malcolm

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by S Slayton

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by S Slayton

Return Of The Robins by Dorothy (Dot) Belle Malcolm – on February 27, 2011

On the way to church I thought I saw them; however, they flew so fast back and forth I wasn’t sure. The next day I was sure! The Robins had returned. Only a few were in my trees. At first I was disappointed, but at least I could hear lots of them in my neighborhood. I sent them many invitations in my thoughts as I worked in the yard, but they did not come.

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

As I worked, I began to hear very high sweet sounds coming from some medium sized black birds. How thankful I was for their “music.” Then it ceased and I realized why when I saw the shadow of the Cooper’s Hawk come across the yard. He frequents our area almost daily, and I now realize why I have fewer birds come to my feeders. He is a beautiful specimen but my heart does not welcome him.

 Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) by Daves BirdingPix

Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) by Daves BirdingPix

Well I promised last year I would not speak again of the Robin’s bad manners, so this year I shall not fault them for a lack of a good showing. They had a very good reason. I shall remain satisfied they were around and be thankful for that.

By Dorothy Belle Malcolm

See her article from last year – When The Robins Came

Lee’s Addition:

Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)

Listen to the – American Robin’s song -from xeno-canto.com

The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a member of the Thrush – Turdidae Family. As Dorothy (“Dottie” to me) knows, they only pass through on their migration journey. This time of the year, they are on their way north.

“The American Robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering south of Canada from Florida to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. The American Robin is active mostly during the day, and on its winter grounds it assembles in large flocks at night to roost in trees in secluded swamps or dense vegetation. The flocks break up during the day when the birds feed on fruits and berries in smaller groups. During the summer, the American Robin defends a breeding territory and is less social. It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin.” (Wikipedia)

When The Robins Came – by Dorothy (Dot) Belle Malcolm

When The Robins Came – by Dorothy (Dot) Belle Malcolm

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

They came one day – loudly – uninvited – wildly flying thru the branches of the neighbor’s camphor tree, and were scattered over the ground as if it were a race to see who could eat the most. But primarily they were in the tree.

For days their noisy, frantic activity continued, usually in the mornings. Then when it seemed they had moved on to somewhere else, I saw they were back again.

Only this time in a tree near where I was cleaning up from the effects of winter’s cold. And they were oh so loud and gave no heed to me. I felt they were having much fun. They delighted in flicking decaying leaves around in search of wormy treasures.

In their colors of black and orange and yellow bills, they appeared fresh, strong, and each feather perfect. In their foraging, they would skitter, bob, stop still, stand proudly, with heads held up. They looked like strong healthy sentinels.

What joy seemed to be theirs, scattering leaves over the stone pathways. At first, I blamed the squirrels for the mess, but soon realized that was a wrong assumption. When they left, and I observed the mess, I thought they had not been taught good manners. After all they were visitors – shouldn’t they have cleaned up after themselves?

When I saw no more for a few days, I was sorry to have thought badly of their manners. After all, did I not greatly enjoy their antics? For you see, I had much to savor until they hopefully return next Spring.

Imagine how let down I felt by their supposed absence. I recalled their wild flights, beautiful fresh colors, proud looks and flicking up of the leaves. Oh how happy I was in a few days to be rewarded by the sight of a lone robin and hear it’s voice. Was it left behind I wondered – why did it appear to be alone? No, no, not at all, for in a couple days a goodly group appeared. I knew they were not here to stay though. When they return next year they will have an open invitation to my yard, trees, leaves, and all the rest. Let them be loud, wild, and messy. I shall not speak of bad manners again.

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalms 16:11 NKJV)
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 ESV)

Dorothy, Dottie as we know her at church, is a friend who likes to garden and provide for the needs of birds. When she told me of this true story, I had asked her if I could produce it here. Thanks, Dottie, I hope the readers enjoy it as much as I do and look forward to more observations of yours to share.

See her – Return of the Robins


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-legged Flyrobin/Flycatcher

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (Microeca griseoceps) by Ian

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (Microeca griseoceps) by Ian

I haven’t had proper internet access for a week, so please forgive me for another late BoW. I’ve been sequestered away in a girls’ boarding school in Armidale on the tablelands of northern New South Wales attending a recorder playing workshop. It was a wonderful experience but quite exhausting and I’ve discovered that you use the same brain cells for playing music as you do for composing text. I managed find some other brain cells to prepare these two photos several days ago – taking time off from practice – but my plan to skip lunch and search for an internet cafe never had much chance of success.

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (Microeca griseoceps) by Ian

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (Microeca griseoceps) by Ian

The Yellow-legged Flycatcher belongs in the obscure category. Unlike its close relative the Jacky-winter – widespread throughout Australia – it is found only in northern Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. It is a forest dweller, favouring the outer canopy and small (12cm/4in long) so it is easily overlooked. The bright chrome-yellow legs, however, contrast with its rather sombre plumage.

In recent years it has become better known as more birders visit Iron Range National Park near Lockhart River. My 1986 field guide (Slater) describes its status as ‘rare’ and its voice as ‘precise information required’, while my 2000 one (Morecombe) says it is ‘common’ and provides a detailed description of its call (variations on “wheeit”).

Like the Jacky-winter and the rather similar Lemon-bellied Flycatcher of northern Australia it is a member of the Petroicidae. the Australo-Papuan Robins and is not related to other flycatchers. To emphasize this distinction, the international name for the Yellow-legged and the Lemon-bellied is ‘Flyrobin’ (there are several species in PNG) but this name is having an uphill task in being accepted in Australia.

Now, I’m going to go Dangar Falls National Park near Armidale and have a relaxing day or two.
Best wishes,

Yellow-legged Flycatcher
Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

Petroicidae Family (Australasian Robins) are in a different Family from other Robins. The American Robin is now the only Robin in with the Thrushes & Allies which are in the (Turdidae) Family. The Clay-colored and White-throated Robins are now Thrushes.  The Muscicadpidae Family which has Robins is in with the Chats and Old World Flycatchers.

The Australasian Robins do not seem to migrate like many others from the other two families mentioned. The American Robin (thrush family) migrates because they are down here now this time of the year.

“Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)