Sunday, January 4, 2009

Why The Birds Were Here

I took one look at the main page on this site yesterday, and I didn't like what I saw. There were no photos in view! I wanted to try changing the way I wrote these posts just a little bit, but it turned out to be a lot. I think it was still a good post, but I want to be able to see a photo when I open the page.

For some reason, seeing only text there made it look kind of bare to me. It would be just fine if that's what this site was all about, but I think the photos are important. I really like writing down all of these things, but I enjoy the pictures. With that tirade against myself done, onto the real reason I'm here...

The general area I was in yesterday, when I got the photos of the flock of birds resting in the trees, was close to the path where Alice and I saw so many robins hiding in the trees. These birds really like this area. I knew there was a good reason the birds were there, but I never had a chance to investigate until now.

The pictures I've seen of robins in trees, even from other people, showed these birds surrounded by very similar looking branches. I wondered before if they were the same type of tree. I'm not really very knowledgeable about how to classify trees, but I know if something looks the same. I guess that's a start.

If you look in the tree from the photo above, you can see some dark berries on some of the bare branches. I don't know what these are yet, but I'll figure it out eventually. I have very many photos of these berries, and I have been planning to find out what they are. Maybe when they're back later in the year.

I'm guessing that these berries might be what the birds are after. They have to eat something, and these look as good as anything else. Of course I could be completely wrong, but I'm not really trying to be very scientific right now. I'm just going by what I observe along the way. I'll show some actual knowledge and research about this some other time. For now, this is good enough.

I just happened to walk down a side path, and I saw some interesting things on the ground. It was more of these berries. They had fallen off of the trees and into the snow. I don't know whether it was the weather that did this, or the birds knocked them out of the trees in their quest for food maybe it was both. Whichever it was, there they lay on the ground.

These black spots in the snow really make everything look dirty, but if you look closely, you can see the stems of the berries, and all kinds of little details in there. The berries seem to have stained the snow around them. With the warmth of that day, they're also sinking down towards the ground. This is what winter really looks like.

It's part of the process of nature's renewal that happens every year. When springtime arrives, some of the seeds in these berries will have made it all the way into the ground, and they will begin to sprout as brand new trees. And this process will begin again next year, and every year after that.

Now, I know I sound kind of ignorant of the whole process, but that's okay. That's what I'm here to do. I'll let everyone guess for themselves what happened here. I have some very knowledgeable readers here. There are also some people that read this that are very new to nature. This is for both types of reader.

Maybe some of you that know this stuff can help the others with your comments. And maybe the ones that don't can ask whatever they want to know. It works out pretty well that way. That's what comment sections are for. Of course, I'll be here to answer anything in my own special way too. It works out great.

Okay, that's enough of my begging for extra comments. It sounds like I'm running a telethon or something. I still mean what I said though. I'll be back tomorrow with something a little different, but still the same. Don't worry, it'll be good. I'll also, of course, be lightly monitoring the comments section like usual. See you then.

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  1. The images are simply stunning. Wildlife photos are always my favorite

  2. Why the birds were here?
    Why we are here?
    If we can answer the earlier, may we answer the later?
    Does this comment relate to your post?

  3. That first photo is a great closeup of the robin. But I think the second one has better composition. You can really see the variation in depth with the cage of branches. Nice work.

  4. Hmmm, I actually also like your post yesterday even though your photos were after your story. I enjoy how you describe your adventures, it seems so easy for you describing everything. I, on the other hand, am at a mental blank right now, or blogging emptiness :)) I have been enjoying reading a lot of other blogs than writing my own :)) Anyway, you have a great blog, keep it up. And I like your pictures of yesterday and today of the birds.

  5. The bird is adorable. I love bird photos and it's so difficult to get photos of them. You did a fantastic job.

  6. Roentarre - Thank you very much. They're my favorite too, that's why I do it.:)

    Rainfield61 - The birds were here to eat the berries.

    We are here to watch the birds, and enjoy nature. It all belongs to us.

    We can answer both questions. Maybe our answers will even be right in their own way.

    And finally, your comment relates very well to my post. It inspired my thought process. Thanks:)

    Richard Perkins - Thank you. You got it exactly right. Those were the two main reasons I chose those particular photos.

    Betchai - Thanks. I thought the post yesterday was just as good as my others too, but I like seeing the photos when I first come to the site. It just didn't work out that way. I think maybe I could have added one more photo to the top. When I started writing these things it wasn't so easy. My first month was difficult. I have had plenty of times like yours, when I'd just rather look at other blogs.:)

    You have a great blog too. I routinely read it. I've been lucky, just about everyone that comments here has a very good blog. I read every commenter from today on a regular basis. I learn a lot from you all. Thanks :)

  7. Jodapoet - Thanks. It was a little easier for me to get them this time, because there were so many birds. The birds in these two photos are actually two different birds from different directions. The birds were surrounding me. I feel fortunate that none were directly above me though.:)

  8. Hi Ratty,

    Been a while not reading your post and i think i lost counts of what is going on with your adventure. Three subject of your daily adventure on the hiking trails that i really like is squirrels, birds and the snow.

    Birds is amazing creature. To do observation on what they are feeding on is great. As for myself, i have difficulties on identifying what fruits are they eating too. It is not easy things to do but it is interesting and a lots of fun.

    Just keep on with your adventure and i know you are a great observer..:)

    Happy New Year 2009. I am sure this year you will have a great adventure..:)

  9. Hi Rose,

    Glad to see you back! I will be talking about all three of those things in some of my new posts. I have some new photos of them that I really want to put here.

    Seeing these berries was only the second time I thought I knew what birds were eating. I'm going to talk about the first time in a few days. It should be interesting. It was for me.

    Thanks, that's a great compliment coming from you.:)

    Happy New Year to you too. I'm sure you will to. You have a few great blogs. Those photos today were wonderful.:)

  10. Hi Ratty- I'm not sure where in MI you are, but the berries look like they might be Buckthorn... nasty invasive species. Are they almost black? Does the tip of each twig have a sharp short thorn? Robins particularly like the berries, then poop the seeds and make the problem even worse. If you are in SE MI, there is LOTS of buckthorn.

    Rhamnus cathartica is the Latin... it doesn't get that name for nothing. Gives humans terrible diarrhea.

    Ann Arbor in particular is working hard to remove buckthorn from the parks.

  11. Hey Ratty- do I have your email? Send me a note at, eh? I have a couple of questions.

  12. Sharkbytes - I'll send it right away.

  13. Sharkbytes - Thanks, I think you're right about these plants. They fit your description perfectly. SE Mi, Farmington Hills is where I found them. They are all over the place in Heritage Park here. Great information.