Monday, January 23, 2012

Turdus migratorius

Decades ago—I won’t say how many—when my twin and I were born, our parents dubbed us Jennifer and Robin, respectively. I’m not sure why our folks named us what they did, but I’m thankful they didn’t adhere to the then-common practice of giving twins names that rhymed. We could have been Jennifer and Hennifer, or Jenny and Henny for short. So, under the circumstances, I’m very grateful to be Robin, even though my namesakes aren’t exactly the celebrities of the bird kingdom.

Robins aren’t as intelligent as jays, as colorful as goldfinches, as stately as doves, as articulate as meadowlarks, as beautiful as bluebirds, or even as cute as the humble house sparrow. Furthermore, robins are renowned for hopping around the yard like they’re on pogo sticks, yanking up worms (ick) and snatching up moths (shudder). Even their Latin name, Turdus migratorius, is totally lacking in sophistication. Maybe that’s why, eons ago when I was young, I didn’t really mind when my best friend’s dad always called me Bluebird.

Nevertheless, Hubby and I truly enjoy our robins. The winter robins hang out in the Russian olive trees, providing us with much-needed color and lively company besides. The olives keep them plump despite the frigid temperatures. In a few months, after the winter robins have headed north, our spring-early summer robins will return. The latter, a less-hardy but much noisier bunch, will entertain us as they bustle about their family-building business and whistle their happy tunes. The robin’s song, as transcribed by birders into English, sounds like, “Cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up.”

Regretfully, I sing more like a rusty gate than a robin, but it’s my heartfelt hope that my blog will spread a bit of cheer in this sometimes-dreary world!

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