Robins have been here all winter. They are year-round residents. But every spring whole regiments of them show up about this time. And then they move on, leaving the local crowd to nest and raise families.
By the way – one more proof that books still have a great future. If you want to know more about what birds occur here in north Texas, and when, there are some good websites, of which the best is North-Central Texas Birds, maintained by my friend Jim Peterson, one of north Texas’s only real ornithologists. But for really detailed information there is only one place to go – a book published nearly thirty years ago.
Warren Pulich is now dead, but for many, many years he was the undisputed authority on north Texas birds. I had the privilege of doing Christmas Bird Counts with him in the early 80s, and he was a masterful birder. In 1988 he published The Birds of North Central Texas and it has been in print ever since. From time to time I see it at Half Price Books, and I have bought several copies for friends. There is nothing like it, and nothing else is anywhere near as complete as Pulich.
For example, here is just a small part of the interesting information Pulich offers up on robins.
“In many counties [of north Texas] robins have been reported every month of the year, making it difficult to determine the exact movement of the species in and out of the area. . . . In the Dallas – Fort Worth area . . . increases are usually noted after the first of the year when robins invade yards with berry-bearing plants, often competing with Cedar Waxwings [as they are this year]. . . . among the large flocks albinos or partial albinos may be seen. Robins seem more susceptible to this aberration than many other species of birds.”
“Nesting has been noted for Tarrant County from 20 March (building nest) to 19 May (young in nest). . . . Juveniles have been reported in July and early August; the latest is 5 September (Navarro County). There are many examples of robins rearing two broods.” [Pulich, p. 270-71]
I doubt that information is available anywhere online. And that is where books still are indispensable. For detailed, especially historical, information. We are so much a culture of now and next that we have lost a sense of past and permanent. The preservation of the past. That is what books do well.
For the now and next of where robins breed around Texas, here is a link to the Texas Breeding Bird Census data. This is a wonderful reference for many Texas birds.
DFW Urban Wildlife, another really useful site for information and pictures of all sorts of wildlife, from insects to birds, has a whole article on robins, which opens with a quotation from my favorite source of information – Wikipedia. [If you use Wikipedia, you DO support it, don’t you? Of course you do. It’s a non-profit which depends on donations, so if you use it you really should do your part. I do.]
That picture of a robin, by the way, was taken in our trees this very afternoon. He looks satisfied, having been feeding in our “berry-bearing plants.”