Nature

The Strangest Thing I’ve Ever Seen In Nature

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in this chair when I heard a loud whooshing sound. Then out of the corner of my left eye I saw a dark swooping motion outside the French doors.

I heard a loud chirring sound in intervals before I knew what was happening.

When I looked up I was aghast. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of robins had descended down upon my patio and were perched on the fence and in the iced up tree branches. They were all over my patio furniture and wherever they could find to perch.

Ivy and Charlie and I made our way to the French doors. It kind of felt like a dream because I’d never seen anything like it.

Picture Worth A Thousand Words:

Of course I grabbed my camera. There were a couple of other kinds of birds, but the mass was mostly robins.

They moved almost too quickly to photograph. Flitting from one surface to another as if agitated.

Then every minute or so they’d gather and all of them would head back up into the sky. Only to come right back a few seconds later.

It was the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever seen in nature. It was awe-inspiring. I stood there and took over a hundred photos, simply because I didn’t know what else to do.

It was hard to look away because I didn’t know if I’d ever see such an event again.

Ivy watching the birds

I found this info in All About Birds:

One reason why they seem to disappear every winter is that their behavior changes. In winter robins form nomadic flocks, which can consist of hundreds to thousands of birds.

Usually these flocks appear where there are plentiful fruits on trees and shrubs, such as crab apples, hawthorns, holly, juniper, and others.

Ivy Never Moved:

Ivy was transfixed. She was so surprised she laid in the bottom tunnel of her cat tower and simply watched. Charlie watched as well.

A vision from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 movie “The Birds” flashed in my head. Here’s a YouTube video trailer of that movie if you’ve forgotten. A real blast from the past!

I couldn’t figure out what was happening. Hundreds of birds all coming down together and then rising back up and out of sight.

This went on for close to an hour maybe. Then they were gone. Not a one of them in sight. And everything was still again.

The Berries Were All Gone:

It was then I noticed that they’d picked the tree free of all the hundreds of berries that clung to the branches in icy clusters.

I stood and stared at the tree and couldn’t see even one berry left.

What an amazing thing to get to see.

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38 Comments

  1. What an amazing experience! Years ago my I was in my parents backyard when I saw wave after wave of some sort of raptor birds flying above me. There had to be thousands. It was definitely a migration. I had never seen anything like this. I grabbed binoculars to get a better look. I still couldn’t tell what kind of birds they were, but I could see that they had the kind of beaks that hawks and falcons have. I laid on top of the trampoline and watched them for hours. It was such an awesome experience. To this day I still have a recurring dream where I witness a migration of all sorts of birds like flamingoes, owls, geese, etc.

  2. Two separate times we have had the giant gathering of robins in our yard and the houses right around ours. They flew swirling down onto the branches of big old oak trees. There were several huge flocks swirling up and around and back down into the trees. They were all in everyone’s birdbaths, bird feeders, trees and bushes with any berries and in all of the yards on the ground pecking around. My persimmon trees were filled with them and so was the ground beneath. They were pecking at persimmons.
    They were all making their little robin call. Our visits both happened after mid November. As it got dark, they all perched in all of the big old trees in every tree I could see from my house in all of the yards. As it got dark they were all doing that swirling down of the flocks into the trees. By daylight they were gone. I missed their flying away. Only one lone robin stayed here around our yard. He survived fine during the winter. I don’t know what he ate all winter. It felt miraculous to see and hear that many robins all at the same time. I am so glad that you and little Charlie and big Ivy got to see them.

    I hope those robins are the ones that live around here on their way back home to my neighborhood in Misssouri. I usually see and hear the first ones after mid February. I hope they don’t get here before our predicted zero degree weather gets gone. The earthworms couldn’t get to the top of the ground here if they had steel drills to tunnnel up with.

  3. Brenda… it seems you have a gift of being mindful and “living in the moment” which I’ve been trying to do more of in the past few years.   Paying attention to things, especially nature, helps me “get out of my own head” and is calming for me.  We used to live on some acreage and we saw a lot of wildlife.  I miss it.  The 2 things I enjoyed most were the bluebirds and hummingbirds.  Living in town we still see hummers which is always a pleasure. Thanks for saring your observations with us. (by the way to clippers came yesterday and they’re great!)

  4. You were certainly blessed by nature!! What an event to witness and how fortunate that you were home and that all three of you were able to watch it. Fabulous!!

  5. We had a similar event happen a couple of days ago…except the birds were Cedar Waxwings…just gillions of them swooping down to the yards, trees, and gutters and then swooping back up into the sky. It did remind me of the birds movie…in which I almost ran out of the theater because it was so disturbing. Nature never disappoints!

  6. Our daughter in law posted a picture of the robins in their back yard…not quite that many but the bush was full, she said they stayed about 20 minutes and left as soon as they had stripped the berries from the bush. She said they have done this several years.

  7. That was wonderful! We have quite a few birds in our yard, but never something like this. I’m so glad you have pictures of them.

  8. And you just said the other day you haven’t seen any robins. I’m sure they made a mess but lucky you. By the way what kind of tree is that?

  9. What a blessing to see them. Glad you got the pictures. I saw a bunch of birds all together yesterday . Not all robins but there were some.

  10. What fun that must have been. I would have thought Ivy was cackling at all of them. My daughter started feeding the birds and hummingbirds last summer. Our yard is full every day with their singing. But as of late we have a hawk that purchases on a utility pole several times a day and the yard gets very quiet.

  11. This happens every year in my front yard. Hundreds of robins descent and eat ll the berries off the trees and leave, it seems, all at once. I eagerly await this every January or February.

  12. Isn’t that something that you were home and awake when the robins came?? I had no idea they did such a thing either. In one of the remote locations we lived in some years ago, we had a weekend of HUNDREDS of hummingbirds…we were kept very busy putting out sugar water for them…it even snowed and I felt so sorry because it probably got some of them. But they disappeared after a couple days and we moved away so I don’t know if that was a yearly thing or not. They were not even afraid of us when we went out to refill the fast emptying feeders.

  13. That’s so exciting! It gives us folks up north in Canada that Spring will be here in another few months. I’ve been able to watch Robins amass like this in the fall before they head south. I’ve always been jealous that they could just pack their bags and take off down south. Would it be so easy for those of us stuck up here! 😁 The robins always hit the park at the corner of my street where I always walked my little Bear. He now officially hit and passed his 17th birthday so every day he’s still here I feel very blessed. I do feel sorry for the robins when they finally make it up here at the end of April because the temps still fall below freezing at night and snow still happens in May when their babies ate hatching. Mama Robin really has a big job to keep the eggs warm until they hatch.

  14. Wow, wow and wow! What a strange but yet delightful sight to see. I can well imagine how you, Charlie and Ivy were in awe of such a sight. I’m so glad you got some pics to share – thank you!!!

    1. I can never remember the name of that tree. Some of you have told me in the comments before. But I blank on it. In the spring it has tons of white blossoms that smell wonderful. It is of course, as you can see, an evergreen tree.

  15. Oh my gosh was this amazing. What a treat for you to see this. Here in the midwest when we see Robins it means Spring is for sure here. I wish I saw that many Robins here lol! They do not come back here until Spring is definitely here. Maybe you will be getting an early Spring. How beautiful. What a great treat for you.