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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Robins' winter diet in Texas


American Robin
During the winter months, Robins who happen to live up north migrate to the southern states (including Texas!) to find food. But the ones that are already here, stay here. So the local population swells. All these Robins don’t eat earthworms in winter of course, but modify their palates to consume large amounts of wild berries (like from hollies) and mealworms (which are actually beetle larvae).


     Birds’ flights for the Gulf crossing are affected by the strength and direction of winds in the upper atmosphere not by what’s in your feeder or anything else. These winds may be stronger than surface winds, and often are not from the same direction. They usually try to fly with the upper-air winds so they can cover greater distances and not use up all their stored energy. Birds will be moving much faster than observed wind speeds so flocks are easily distinguishable on NexRad.

      For the record, a really strong-flying bird, with really good winds and perfect weather, can make the non-stop Gulf crossing in just over 8 hours. It takes an average of 19 straight hours of flying, however, for an average bird, and more for a small bird.


OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.


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