Nature
9:45 am
Tue January 11, 2011

Poor Will's Almanack: January 11 – 17, 2011

Poor Will’s Almanack for the third week of deep winter, the seventh week of the natural year.

"Each of us carries an inward map on which are inscribed, as on Renaissance charts, the seas and continents known to us," writes Scott Russell Sanders

On the inward map of my daybook, I crowd as many January seas and continents of robins as I can.

On Jan 14, 2008: "My friend Casey called at a quarter to three in the afternoon. "There are hundreds of robins here," he said. "It's like a whole yard full of robins, and they keep coming in from the northwest. They're scratching in the snow, digging under leaves."

On January 16 of that year: "Greg called about 4:45 this evening, said he had seen a large flock of robins over by the college library yesterday and that now there were dozens of robins in his back yard. I walked over with Bella my border collie and saw a giant flock in the trees there, some of them in the gutters of the house next to Greg's, some on the driveway, some across the street."

And then on January 27, back in 1991: "At 3:25 this afternoon, as I was getting ready to leave the office, I saw a robin land in the ginkgo tree outside my window. A minute or so later, another robin. Then a third. When I pulled out of the parking lot, three more robins off to my right. After supper, Janet Hackett called: she saw a whole flock of robins gorging themselves on the fruit still hanging to the crab apple trees in front of the library. It's spring."

Next week on Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the Final Week of Deep Winter. In the meantime, well, look for winter robins, count robins.

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