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Saturday essay: Spring by the dozens

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Friday, March 8, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

The winds blew and the snowflakes fell. Yet the robins still came by the dozens Saturday last.

And not even temperatures in the 20s could keep them away from the irresistible treats that lay before them — the overly ripe late-winter fruits of the crab apple tree cantilevered over the back deck.

Perhaps they knew of the coming “snowquester” and were stocking up.

The robins, full of chirp and puff, the latter a mechanism to create body-warming air pockets, unwittingly worked in tandem. Above, those raiding the branches for their shriveled yet still tasty bounty kept those below well stocked with falling fruit.

The occasional dog or cat that sauntered by the patio door to see what all the ruckus was about frequently sent the robins off to their safe haven in the deep interiors of a tall blue spruce that stands guard over the crab apple. But their retreats became less frequent as they realized the Maginot Line of argon-filled double-paned glass would hold.

Late-winter robins are not an anomaly; they typically are the first members of family thrush to return in advance of spring. But they had been in shorter and shorter supply the last few years as cardinals and common grackles came into predominance throughout Catalpa Place Flats. And it's nice to have them back.

One robin is said not to make a spring. But a dozen thrice certainly is a good bet.

— Colin McNickle

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