American robins, Turdus migratorius, are common summer residents in the pine forests of southeastern Arizona. In the winter they move lower to the mixed pine and oak woodland or sometimes much lower, ending up in nearby cities and towns foraging for fruit. Pyracantha plants are a common landscape plant throughout the region and they set an abundance of bright red fruit. Just like fruit on native plants in the wild the pyracantha fruit ferments and yes, birds can get quite inebriated. Party time! Come spring the wandering thrushes remove the lampshades from their heads and return to the pine forests and the sober life. Sorry, but time to build a nest and raise a family.
It was in Pliny the Elder’s encyclopedia Naturalis Historia that the name Turdus was given to the thrush. Several centuries later taxonomist Carl Linnaeus applied it to the genus. I sort of regret not having more fun with the robin’s scientific name, but perhaps one does get wiser with age.
The silhouettes are inside the cover of my old Peterson Guide. Check out number 15…oh yeah.