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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Robins have moved northward: 206 miles at last count

American Robin
There are Robins ("American Robins" technically) in north Texas all year long. But their population center is gradually shifting northward as the weather up north warms up and food is available all winter long.

Robins are so widespread that most of us haven't noticed, but Cornell's Lab of Ornithology has. In a 40-year study they proved that the center of the robin population is now in southern Kansas. The center 40 years ago was north of Gainesville - on the banks of the Red River.
So the Robins' reputation as the "first harbinger of spring" only applies, now, to northern states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and the Dakotas. In Texas, Robins are here all year; just more active and likely to be seen in the spring mating season.

PIGEONS AND DOVES ARE BIRDS OF A FEATHER.   They're pretty much the same; both members of the Columbida family. But the label "dove" implies a more refined, better mannered and less germy bird. Doves are also more slender. In common usage, the farther the bird is removed, genetically, from the pigeons we've all seen in parking lots, around dumpsters and on street lights, the more apt it is to be called a "dove".

Ages and ages ago, the wild pigeon was primarily dark blue and/or dark gray. Much of this coloration has been "bred away" in doves - the Mourning Dove, for example, is beige and light gray.

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