Whisper Singing

American robin (photo by Chuck Tague)

18 March 2008

I heard an unusual bird song the other day – a quiet wiry whistling, almost a melody.  I suspected it was a robin, but this was a new sound to me so I stopped to find the bird.

Indeed, it was a male robin and he moved away at my approach but he didn’t stop singing.  Instead he stayed close to his audience, a female robin.  With his beak pointed up and wide open, he whispered his song to her and watched for her reaction.

Was this courtship?  I did some research in books and on the web and found only a few hints.  Even though robins are very common birds, their courtship activities aren’t distinctive enough to be described any better than “two birds hanging out together.”

Here were two birds hanging out together and maintaining eye contact while he whispered sweet nothings to her.  On a cold March day that might be the extent of robin courtship.

(photo by Chuck Tague)