The American Robin, A Sign of Spring?


DSC_0004 (3)_01DSC_0008 (2)Greet the Robin. Biologists plus Latin speakers know this bird as Turdus migratorius. But, let’s use American Robin. With original Robin breast orange, contrasting black heads, and distinctive white eye patches, all recognize the American Robin.

Yesterday, twelve Robins were feeding on the still nutritious but shriveled apples on the flowering crab apple in our backyard. They washed them down with water from the bird water bowl on the deck. Robins are perpetual indicators of spring. The equation for spring is; see a Robin declare spring has arrived. In brief, it’s Robin= Spring.

This morning our air temperature was a wintry minus 4 degrees. The Northwest wind moved air at 10 miles per hour. The wind chill was minus 18. Robins were soon in the backyard. They are made for cold too. While we delight in seeing Robins again in late winter, Robins do overwinter in the same areas where they were seen in the warm season. Robins occur year-round as far north as west-central Minnesota, almost all of Montana and the southern half of South Dakota. During winter months Robins are not found on our yards as in warm weather. They are in trees with fruit on them. While the fruit-eating champion is the Cedar Waxwing, up to half a Robin’s diet is fruit. In warm season Robins include earthworms along with fruit. It is earthworms in the morning and fruit in the afternoon. We notice them more easily on our lawns when they are seeking earthworms. There is a negative side to this taste for earthworms.  They are quickly and negative affected by the application of pesticides on lawns.

Large, beautiful and common, 45 % of the American Robin population is found part of the year in Canada and even 13 % can be found at times in Mexico. 79%, or the majority of the population however stays most of the year in the United States.

It is estimated that the population of the American Robin is nearly 300 million birds. They are a specie of least concern. It is helpful to the overall population that each nesting season a female Robin can nest up to three times. Yet, surprisingly only 1/4 of the young that live to fly or fledge from the nest live until November. The other 75% of young Robins are food for other animals.

Think with me about this fact. 75% of the young Robins never live to be a year old! Why are there so many young born that will never become adults? The answer is the fullness of the earth. God is abundant. With Him there is an eternal fullness. In every earth habitat, a closer look will reveal God’s fullness in creation. Antarctic Krill provide us with the most graphic illustration of the earth’s fullness. There are an estimated 500 million tons of this pinkie finger size invertebrate in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. How many krill are in the other oceans of earth?

Yes, the Robins are back-even if some never left.

When the next Robin comes within your vision may it not only encourage you that spring is near, may it remind you of God’s abundance. God’s fullness is visible everywhere on earth. In Robins, and in krill that feed whales. Take one more step in this reasoning. If God’s fullness is in creation, does His fullness extend to you? Here is the one word answer: YES.

The fullness of God includes love, mercy, peace comfort, and most of all forgiveness. Since God is infinite, His fullness in Jesus is immeasurably endless.  For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” (yes) is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20

We can experience the fullness of God. He waits for us to ask.