grabbin’ grubs

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With the arrival of the first robin comes the ritual assault on the local earth-worm population. This spring day I was working in the garden when an eager robin jumped into the freshly turned earth less than a metre away.

For a number of years, since the small backyard garden was converted from a lawn to perennial plants and flowers along with the addition of bird feeders, robins, sparrows, blue jays, goldfinches, chickadees, and juncos have visited regularly. In addition, there are trees to hide in and lots of grubs to grab.

The American robin (Turdus migratorius) is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is named after the European robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the Old World flycatcher family. The American robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering from southern Canada to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. –

I have noticed over the past two years robins have become more bold. While looking for earthworms or grubs, they would come quite close as I worked the soil ready for spring planting.

It is frequently seen running across lawns picking up earthworms, and its running and stopping behavior is a distinguishing characteristic. In addition to hunting visually, it also has the ability to hunt by hearing. In urban areas, robins will gather in numbers soon after lawns are mowed or where sprinklers are in use. They also are attracted to freshly turned earth in gardens, where worms and grubs are abundant targets. –

While the plethora of earthworms and grubs in the turned soil entice the robins, their seeming lack of fear or perhaps adaption to humans have provided them with an easier meal as they follow this gardener around. I have seen them arrive as soon as I put the sprinkler out in the knowledge that with the “rain” the earth loosens and worms wriggle to the surface, an easier meal to pluck.

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