Remember those beautiful grapes? Those grapes waiting for a little more sun, and maybe a little frost to bring up the sugar? Remember the word wine in that conversation?
Let me show you something:
An utter misrule of robins came through two days ago. The American Robin, Robin Redbreast, that darling of tale and poem, author of those unspeakably blue eggs in those messy, cockeyed nests; the robin, running and stopping and taking worms from the lawn, caroling in the dawn, shrieking happily before rain:
“Art thou the bird whom Man loves best/The pious bird with the scarlet breast…” wrote William Wordsworth. (Okay, so he was writing of the English Robin, but what difference could a minor linguistic variation make?)
The American one is Turdus migratorious, the sturdy traveler.
A positive horde of them came through and made a ghastly demonstration of the role of agriculture in support of nature. They were by the hundreds, and they descended in a cloud on the vines. They chattered and leaped and ripped at the grapes. They faced down arm-waving and yelling and went to their task like practiced marauders.
“Who killed Cock Robin?” “I,” said the Sparrow…”
Not in very good time, say I. Where is that bow and arrow when a person wants it?
Those robins, those American and not English Robins (we could tell by their accents, right away) took every grape from every vine, and then flew away into the afternoon. I hope they had tummy aches.
No wonder its genus is called Turdus. (Here is a link to a little essay about the etymology of that name:
Getting Sturdy with the American Robin . It really has nothing to do with what it sounds like.)
“All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing
When they heard of the death of poor Cock Robin.”
Keep migrating, Turdus. I’ve got my eye out for you.
(Here below is the darling English Robin, the one we love better just now, in another photo from the Wikimedia Commons, made by Bill Tyne and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0:
This robin is known as Erithacus rubecula.