One of the many waves of migratory birds that has arrived in the Twin Cities area in the past couple of weeks was Robins — a bonanza of Robins — a “robinnanza”.  These are not your usual noisy, chattery backyard robins;  they are instead secretive, quiet, stealthy birds that fly silently through the forest and gang up together for bathing in small forest streams.


Big and beautiful, with their newly molted and bright-colored orange and gray plumage — about two dozen of them crowded in a small forest stream for a bathing party.


It’s a daily (or more often, perhaps) ritual for these birds, especially in this delightful babbling brook.  Cold water is no deterrent.


Now feeling so much cleaner…


Having gotten rid of all the dusty dirt under those brand new feathers, Mr. Beautiful hops up on a branch to dry.

Previously, I wrote a post querying why readers thought Robins bathed so much, and one reader suggested it was because they dig around in the dirty leaves so much.  Indeed, there was an ample display of that behavior near the stream bank, where Robins were furiously poking into and throwing leaves up in the air as they explored what lay beneath.

american robin

Tossing leaves in the air from the muddy ground probably deposits quite a bit of dirt on the thrower.

I poked at a few leaves myself, and found some spiders and mealy bugs crawling around under them, so no wonder the Robins have congregated in this rich hunting ground near a lovely bathing spot.


the forest stream last March in this same spot, just as the watercress was beginning to grow

4 thoughts on “Robin-nanza

  1. You got some great pictures of them! Robins were plentiful at my bird watering tub too, sometimes as many as twenty at a time bathing, drinking or standing in line. Nearly all have moved on now.

    • I’m surprised how different their behavior is at this time of year. They seem to hang out in gangs, and they are so quiet, very unlike the summer crew of noisy residents.

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