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American Robins - Drunk and Disorderly!

© Jean-Guy Dallaire



Yesterday, there was a ruckus of robins in the bitter cherry trees along the road. There were a couple dozen birds, and they were louder than typical with lots of sharp squawks. I walked over for a better view and watched a robin flying up to a branch that held another robin. To my surprise, the sitting robin hopped on the branch and used its wing to smack the approaching bird, which fell ten feet before recovering and finally landing on the ground.


American Robin flies in, berry in beak © Ken Douglas


Whoa, who would’ve thought robins would rival worldwide wrestling? There were many more belligerent wing and pecking incidents, accompanied by lots of squawking. I have never seen robins so belligerent.

Much later in the afternoon, I came upon a robin not far from the cherries, and it was perched at an odd angle. The bird's eyes were closed, and it was clearly leaning to the right. It fluttered its eyes, straightened up, then closed its eyes and slowly ... slowly ... started tilting to the left. There were many cherries on the road, and the whole area smelled like liqueur.

© Karen Brockney


I popped one of the translucent fruits into my mouth. Ahh, clearly it was fermented. I collected two cups of the fruits from the ground and ran them through a Foley food mill, added a bit of sugar, and made myself a cocktail.
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Full disclaimer - Rob writes: Now, I'll tell you the truth. This may work for robins, but not so much for humans. Certainly not a recipe I'll try again!

Rob Sandelin's story originally appeared on Tweeters (an email listserve for birdwatchers in Washington State). Thanks!

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