City Desk

Robin 1, Squirrel 0

Hell hath no fury like a robin whose eggs have been tampered with.

I learned that early this morning. Exiting my Petworth abode, I spotted a squirrel scampering pell-mell down a tree across the street. Was he fleeing a jealous mate? Had my roommate's snakes gotten loose?

Neither, it turned out. The squirrel had merely trespassed on a robin's nest, and the robin was not amused. It pursued the frantic rodent down the tree, up the street, through gutters, under cars, and finally onto my lawn, before the squirrel sought asylum within the wooden latticework of my porch.

Home free? Not a whit. Sounds of scuffling indicated that the robin, unflappable, had broken through and was now tormenting a beast three times its size. By the time the ragged combatants emerged, the robin had clamped his beak to the squirrel's tail. A great general flailing ensued; then, mutual retreat. Peace, or something like it, had been restored.

Are the robins particularly mean this year? Do they have ancestral beef with the squirrels? Has anyone seen anything like this before?

Photograph above by photoholic1

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  • Wrack

    Yes. Grackles will do the same thing (tho they're also egg thieves themselves). I guess most birds are pretty intent on defending their turf from ovivores. Too bad we don't have penguins in DC... I'd like to see one peck the shit out of a squirrel. Or a dog.

  • Ted Scheinman

    Thanks, Wrack. Them grackles can be vicious.

    And what I'd give for a penguin or two in the neighborhood! I think they'd get along with the snakes. Let me look into it.