I DREADED that first robin so,
But he is mastered now,
And I ’m accustomed to him grown,—
He hurts a little, though.

Emily Dickinson

Hold on a second, Em. First robin?

It’s one of the few phenological happenings of which the general public is ostensibly aware, burned into the psyche of so many from childhood stories and poems and well-intentioned but completely wrong adults of no less acclaim than the Belle of Amherst herself. It’s not really spring until the American Robins return, they say. They’re better predictors than that more famous overgrown rat in Pennsylvania, bob-bob-bobbing along with the first warm winds to begin caroling from our maples and stalking our lawns.

We birders know better, of course.

Love robins? Come check out the most recent edition of I and the Bird! All about robins of all kinds.

Written by Nate
Nate Swick is a birder. He grew up in the midwest but currently makes his home in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are birders too. He has a soft spot for Piping Plovers and loves pelagics even when his stomach doesn’t, which makes him the quintessential Carolina birder. Nate is the editor of the ABA blog, host of the American Birding Podcast, and author of two books, Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.