Randy the Redneck Robin


(Not Randy. Image of actual bird not shown to protect his identity. Not really. He just moves around so much I can’t get a good picture of him.)

I first noticed Randy about two months ago, attacking our grill. It has a shiny black surface and I’m guessing he thought his reflection was another male bird looking to set up housekeeping and was giving him a bit of the old ‘You came to the wroooooooooooooooooooooong neighborhood, bitch!’.
It took at least a couple of weeks for him to realize his reflection wasn’t another bird, so he put on a spectacularly funny show for a little while before taking the fight to my car. Both of my rear-view mirrors and the driver/passenger front windows were so covered with poop I had to wash them to see anything. Apparently the ‘ghost-bird’ that was bothering him in the backyard had followed him to the car, and Randy was none too pleased about it. He flapped, pecked and smeared his droppings all over the place. That too lasted a couple of weeks until he clued in and decided the bird in the car window wasn’t worth his time. That, or he figured he had shown the bird who was boss and further aggression on his part was an asshole move.
Naturally, I found this hilarious. Yes, I had to scrub poopy flapmarks off of my car, and yes, the area around the grill was fairly skanky, but his antics were so amusing I still found his presence delightful and named him. Randy is pretty easy to identify even though we live in an area with a tremendous population of Robins, primarily because he doesn’t do anything without some outward show of aggression. Once he staked his claim on the grill he alternated between fighting the ‘ghost-bird’ and sitting on the handle staring intently over our house at the trees. My guess is he had a nest with a mate and some eggs he was looking to protect. I never saw the Mrs. or the babies, but it just makes sense given his behavior. After a few weeks he stopped fecalating the grill and put his attention to the bowl of water I keep out back to give the birds and assorted adorable woodland critters a drink. Apparently, the bowl is his, and damned if he’s gonna share it. There has been much sparring over the bowl. It generally works like this:
Randy has a bath then sits in it for awhile, his feathers all puffed up and his beak open as if he’s ready to do battle if anyone stops by to trespass.
Another bird comes by and Randy flaps, chirps and chases him/her away.
The other bird flies off but comes back a minute later with reinforcements.
Randy hops out and at least two other birds stand by the bowl and all take turns glaring at him while they get a drink.
The second they leave Randy hops back over, his little drumsticks still puffed into oblivion and reclaims the bowl for himself.
Having gotten too close to a robin’s nest a few years ago I know those little guys will divebomb my head and make a heck of a scene if I get too close so I’ve pretty much left Randy alone. I clean and refill the bowl only when he isn’t nearby and thus far he hasn’t gone Defcon-1 on me, which I appreciate.
Not all Robins migrate in the winter but if he does, I will surely miss Randy. Summers are tough and that little guy had kept me laughing since he first appeared. Wherever he goes, I hope he’s up to his aggressively puffed-up drumsticks in fresh water and fermented berries.
And lady birds. Lots of lady birds. :o)
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