Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Robinville, by Joe Neal, November 17, 2010


9:00 PM
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joe neal
To ARBIRD list discussion:
Today and for the past few weeks, robins have been our stars for sure. They have so completely occupied Fayetteville that we must change the signs: “Fayetteville, pop. 68,000” to “Robinville, pop. 6 million.” Counting robins in cedar thickets, amur honeysuckle fields, all across the trees and bushes of neighborhoods and parks – I guess it would be like counting stars in the universe. There’s a roost north of Fayetteville; maybe somebody will count them. It could be a career.

Today busy flocks I’ve been seeing and hearing at Lake Fayetteville and along the Scull Creek bike trail had full run of my yard. Robins were vigorously billing aside fall leaves for tasty bits below even in a cool light rain. Robins with swooping flights and sudden twists and turns among limbs and between bushes. Robins in twos in hard tight chases like spring. Flocks overhead in 12s and 20s. Robins in trees, colorful and animated on limbs now bare of leaves.

I’m no musician but that didn’t keep me from trying to compose what I was hearing: bek bek bek bek, gee g g g g geek! Cheery-up cheery-up, wah wah wah, ber ber, che-chet! Robinville is a mobile, seemingly limitless communal soundscape. A fine male perches up close. His is a big dark eye framed by two clean white crescents, set into a black head and an artistic throat of wavy dark and light streaks, like life itself. The “red” breast is fall orange, a harvest orange. I can see his bill opening and closing, so I assume he is singing or I suppose he could be lip synching… Cheery! Cheery! Bick bick bick…

The singing and calling happily obscures College Avenue rush hour in pre-Robinville Fayetteville. But suddenly, silence falls upon the living earth of birds and deadly rush hour resumes it dominance. Why the silence? I’m thinking it’s the little Big Bang. I can see these robins exploding out from a distant spot; maybe not 14 billion light years back as with the big Big Bang, but at least in my neighbor’s yard and out of my sight. Robinville’s Silencer must lurk in the far distant vast thicket, probably Cooper’s Hawk.

But Robinville returns to business-as-usual in 5. Singing and calling, chasing, gobbling down bright red amur honeysuckle berries – that’s the main business today in Robinville.

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