Turdus Migratorius, What are you doing?

So, I wake up this cold, winter morning and hear scratching on the metal roof. The sun has just crested the far ridge and I can tell it’s a beautiful, clear day. So what’s happening on my roof?

I head to the bathroom and the only window on the east side of the cabin but get distracted by the toilet. As I attend to business, I see shadows flying, rapidly, across the cute burlap curtains I had made.My curtains with a bird figurine.  Ironic, no?

Shadow, scratch scratch, shadow.

Shadow flying by. And another as I wash my hands.

Shadow, scratchy scratchy, screech. No shadow.

Business complete, I lift an edge of the curtain to peek.


I’ve now decided I have birds doing something to my roof. But type and reason elude me.

Shadow! Bigger bird, not a chickadee or a wren, who might be looking for spiders, who won’t be out because it’s freezing. Hmmm.

I pull the curtain up and settle onto the washer to watch.

And I finally see one of the birds, in a tree, before it flies to the roof. Robin? It’s February, and still cold. A few more sightings and I now know my roof is being attacked by a flock robins for some unknown reason. (Squirrel! There’s not an official name for a flock of robins, but the term ‘a round of robins’ is becoming popular!}

Drip. A crystal rainbow falls across my view. And the light bulb flares!

Frost is melting on the metal roof, collecting into drops on the edge of the gutter-less roof, and dripping to the ground. This first flock of robins of the spring have some tribal knowledge from somewhere. Someone learned that roofs and sun might mean water on a cold morning and here they are!

Realizing that their water sources are frozen, I place a bowl of warm water on the porch rail and wait.


Sure enough, I have created an oasis in the frozen landscape. I watch as these harbingers of spring quench their thirst at the temporary pond I created. Sometimes a timid bird, sometimes several jockeying for a sip.


The small group (maybe 20 in all) each drank their fill and flew on across the valley to scare up worms. What an unexpected treat to start the day.


Pleased with my early morning good deed, I began my day, glad that my scientific name is not Turdus migratorius!

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