Everyone loves robins. They symbolize the first sign of Spring. People delight over their teal colored eggs. And there is always excitement when their young start peeping in the nest.
Not me. I loathe them. Even the scientific name for the American Robin is heinous: Turdus migratorius. Let me translate that for you – it means they crap everywhere.
And everywhere is the key. In 1996 I traveled all the way to Alaska to photograph Grizzly Bears and Orcas (killer whales). After two long days on the water, I docked at the port of Valdez without seeing an Orca. The disappointment was staggering. When I arrived at the bed and breakfast, there was a large bird to the left of the driveway. It was too far away for me to ascertain its species. My heart jumped with the great anticipation of identifying my first sub-arctic land bird. I whipped out my 300 mm lens and clicked off four photos. As I did not want to frighten away this mystery bird, I crept in a couple of feet and shot some more. A few more steps, a few more frames, and before you know it I had rifled off nearly an entire roll of film. Finally, I was close enough to get a good look at this bird: it was a @#^&* robin! I had traveled all the way to the other end of the United States of America to see a robin? After wasting a roll of film on this common bird, I was steamed. And no, I never saw a Grizzly, either.
Five years later, on another photographic expedition in the mountains of British Columbia, they struck again. Robins…so profuse they seemed like a noxious weed. The theme to the Sopranos by Alabama 3 came on. I changed the words to “Woke up this morning, got myself a gun; shot up some robins, every single one…”
I have noticed since then that they are everywhere. No matter how remote the location, you will find a robin there. A logical explanation had to exist for this infestation of the turd bird. I was determined to find it.
Sure enough, after years of research through cobweb-laden archives of secret knowledge, I discovered the little-known origin of the robin. Way back in medieval times, robins hailed from a small country in Slavic Europe called Robinnia, quietly nestled between Transylvania and Viagravia. Obviously, the former lent its evil from Vlad the Impaler, and the latter provided the foundation for the robin’s ability to breed incessantly. After years of overcrowding in their homeland, the robins decided to branch out and infiltrate every nation on the planet. They traveled on ships, trains, cattle barges and any other method they could hijack to assist them in their endeavor to eventually be absolutely everywhere. Give them time and they will be on the International Space Station…if they’re not already.
People look on joyfully as robins carry worms and twigs back to their nests. But it is the cargo you don’t see that should worry you. Have you lost your iPod or Blackberry? Check the nearest nest; robins need computers. It’s not your neighbor pirating your internet; robins around the world are networking, plotting hostile takeovers, Ponzi schemes and insider trading. Robins are thick into big business. Look at how that bird made me waste that film in Alaska…I had to purchase more because of it – at Wal-Mart. Yes, that seems insignificant as a singular episode, but look at the bigger picture. They are devious. What do you have to buy because of the robins in your neighborhood? Think about it. I guarantee there will be something, whether it be an obvious item like a bird bath or a seemingly unrelated purchase like another Blackberry. Don’t let that orange chest and yellow beak fool you…your day will come.
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This post originally appeared on K.S. Brooks’ blog in July 2009. It is timeless! (Well, I think so anyway.)