Feb 152017

Today, February 15,  I was at band practice at Living Hope Church on Lansdowne St. east beside the OPP building. There are 12 crab apple trees in front of the church and I counted 5-6 American Robins in each tree. That’s a lot of robins in one spot.! They were in a feeding frenzy.  Ron Craig

Today, February 15, I had 18 American Robins in my yard. They have been eating the apples from my flowering crab tree, which for some reason didn’t all drop in the fall. I have been throwing out dried cranberries and read on the Internet that they also will eat small pieces of apples, soaked raisins and possibly pieces of oranges.  Is there anything else I can put out for them? I am usually lucky to have two robins in the summer so this is such a treat to have so many! Also, the man who snowblows my driveway said he saw about 100 American Robins near the Holiday Inn on February 12.   Marg Byer, Chamberlain St., Peterborough

NOTE: You may want to try putting out mealworms. D.M.

Today, February 13, I had 9 American Robins feeding on berries in my mountain-ash trees. Nick Chaggares, MacDonald St., Peterborough

I saw this tree full of mostly American Robins when I was out walking on Dublin St. They were feeding on a mountain-ash tree across the road.  When I first passed the mountain-ash, I counted 25 robins feeding. So much for flying south.   Ron Craig

Mostly robins in tree on Dublin Street – Feb. 12, 2017, Ron Craig

Well who knew? We were walking through Beavermead Park near the campgrounds on February 6, when we saw a multitude of birds – over 30 – that we at first did not recognize. We were surprised once we realized it was a flock of American Robins Helen and Larry Keller

American Robins feeding on Wild Grape – Beavermead Park – Feb. 7, 2016 – Helen & Larry Keller –

Today, February 7, we noticed at least 30 American Robins feasting on crabapples in our backyard. We have seen one or two robins in the crabapple tree over the years but never a small flock.  Jim Falls, Peterborough (west end)

Today, February 7, I saw at least 30 American Robins feeding in trees along the road off of Clonsilla Avenue that leads to the Dollarama / HomeSense parking lot. Michelle Monkman

At about 4:35 pm on February 6,  I noticed about 60 American Robins in my backyard treeline. I used to race pigeons so I’m pretty good at counting the number of birds in a flock! LOL   Gavin Hunter, Omemee

I live near the corner of Monaghan Road and Charlotte Street in Peterborough and saw a flock of ‘huge’ American Robins this morning. Quite round in shape! Sarah Thompson, Hazeldean Ave.

I continue to have a very large flock of American Robins and European Starlings feeding in the crab apple tree. Yesterday, Feb. 3, there were 4 dozen + robins and well over 100 starlings. With the flock was 1 Cedar Waxwing and 1 Bohemian Waxwing. Also, one of the robins was leusistic but it flew off before I could get a picture. There were birds everywhere!  Sue Paradisis, Tudor Crescent

Robins & Bohemian Waxwing in crab apple tree – Feb. 4, 2016 – Sue Paradisis

We have a flock of at least 50 American Robins showing up the last 3 days at our place on Chemong Lake, north of Fowlers Corners. Bob Hancock

We have a flock of at least 20 to 30 American Robins in our European Mountain-ash. Some waxwings, too. Rob Tonus, Farmcrest Avenue

I had 12 American Robins feeding on European Buckthorn berries in the tree behind my house on February 4. Drew Monkman, Maple Crescent, Peterborough

This morning, I had 25-30 American Robins feeding in my crab apple trees. Brad Gillen, Montcalm Drive, Peterborough

As of February 4, there are quite a few American Robins at 879 Parkhill Road west in Peterborough. Do you have any idea of what to feed them?   Cliff Mccollow

Note:  The robins will do just fine without feeding them at all. There is abundant wild food around this year, especially wild grape, mountain-ash berries, winterberry holly, crabapple and European buckthorn.  However, you could try putting out some raisins that have been softened by soaking them in water. Personally, I’ve never tried feeding them. D.M.

Jun 012016

Here are some comments that Bill Snowden, a retired horticulturalist, sent along regarding concern expressed by Rob Tonus about Yellow-bellied Sapsucker drillings in his mountain-ash. Rob’s response to Bill’s comments are included below.

When the Yellow-beliied Sapsucker taps mountain-ash, it will sometimes enlarge the holes daily to keep the sap running. This can be a problem since the tree can lose valuable nutrients, and the wound may get infected causing serious damage. Even drilling a series holes around the circumference can do serious damage if they are close together and girdling occurs. Unfortunately,  if the sapsucker finds a tree that is a good bleeder, it will return each year, re-tap, and possibly do more damage, usually in the same area.  If a protective coat of tree emulsion is put over the damaged area, the birds usually just move to a new area on the same tree.

On the road allowance at my property in Ennismore, two mountain-ashes were planted with birch and pussy willow. Over the past five years, only one of the mountain-ash has been taped repeatedly. The run of sap usually dries up by the end of June. It is interesting to watch the antics of the breeding pair, and I enjoy the continual drumming of the male. Both male and female come to the wound and drink repeatedly during the day. These trees are all European mountain-ash and the species is not a cultivar. Some of the cultivars are not visited by sapsuckers. The two trees mentioned produce good fruit but are not eaten by the birds though the parent tree is usually stripped by American Robins and Cedar Waxwings by late August. There must be a preference in taste.

Bill Snowden, Ennismore

I’m not too concerned about sapsucker damage to my tree, since they have been making holes on this tree for longer than the 15 years that we’ve lived here on the edge of Peterborough. However, the holes in a couple of locations are larger than they normally are, so I was a bit worried about excess sap flow or the introduction of fungi. I’ll just have to see how this pans out. I might cover up some of them with the emulsion Bill Snowden recommends. I find it a thrill to have lunch or dinner at the table nearby and hear that squeaky noise the bird makes when it arrives at the tree. And yes, the waxwings love the fruit – the flocks arrive in the fall and strip the tree bare in a couple of days. We certainly have chosen a great city – Peterborough – to move to!

Rob Tonus, Peterborough

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Paul Anderson)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Paul Anderson)

Sapsucker holes in mountain-ash - Rob Tonus

Sapsucker holes in mountain-ash – Rob Tonus