• Dale Bowman

Sumo wrestlers, cold robins, antics of kids & tractor pulls: Ramble with the Lady

Dozens of robins sat around sidewalks, roads and any grassy area with their feathers puffed so thick they looked like some sort of avian Sumo wrestler.

(Surely you knew I would find a video like this.)

What do robins do on a morning like this? By like this I mean a morning so cold, in the teens or low 20s, that the ground is frozen nearly hard as concrete.


If I had to guess, they simply wait out the bitter cold. It is spring. The sun is high in the sky. Even on cold days, like yesterday, the ground thaws and they can feed.

But it did make we wonder because robins were all over the place. And they all were fluffed and frankly looked miserable.

Cold, but beautiful this morning, so Lady, our family's mutt, I stretched out a full two-mile ramble.

Reward was lots of birds, but no other wildlife.

As usual, cooing of mourning doves on all sides in town, and out.

My pride came this morning in finding several cardinals calling high in trees as we neared the side rail separating town from the wildness of the town pond. Many red-winged blackbirds trilled around the north old clay pit.


The sun cleared the horizon as we reached the far end of the ramble and I had something else to wonder about.

The extended ramble skirts the area where the town holds a tractor pull each fall as part of the town's Pumpkin Fest.

There is a food and drink area at the tractor pull. For tables, they usual huge wooden spools. During the off season, they are stacked or piled in a pile of brush.

Well, this morning, I found a couple of the hunking tables/spools rolled out from the pile. My guess is that kids were messing around and somebody came up with the idea to start rolling spools around.

There is part of me that completely understands. Of course, the adult side of me wonders about the danger those big things could do to little kids.

Ah, kids.

A woodpecker hammered away on a dead tree on the southwest corner of the north pit. This morning I found it. It was a hairy woodpecker. OK, I took a certain amount of pride in finding it.

I only counted three pairs of Canada geese swimming on the town pond. But so far I still do not see any sign of any pair nesting. Usually we get seven pairs nesting around the town pond.

I could not believe it, but we had skim ice that formed overnight on the east side of the north pit and on the south end of the south pit. I thought we were done with this crap.

Back in town, a Eurasian collared dove flew over city hall and landed in a tree. I waited to hear the rasping or croaking call and did not.

Maybe it was too cold.

A handful of sparrows and a lone dove flew off as we came up our front steps. No dark-eyed juncoes this morning, though we have had them at the feeders all week.

Spring will crawl back in eventually.

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