The Song of Spring

The Song of Spring

In parts of the world where season changes are conspicuous and dramatic, people often rhapsodize during the cold winter over the coming of spring. They describe spring as a time when the crocuses and daffodils burst into bloom, accompanied by songs of birds. The robin especially has become the symbol of spring, since it arrives in upper latitudes as soon as the snow melts and certainly does its share of singing.

For people who live where the robin spends the warm seasons, spring officially starts when they hear the first notes of the robin's song. The bird seems to be celebrating the new season. Scientists know, however, that its singing has another purpose.

The robin's song proclaims to other birds, including other robins, that it and its mate have laid claim to a certain area to raise their offspring. In other words, the song of the belligerent, bad—tempered robin is really a warning to other birds to back off. Far from being a celebration of the arrival of spring, this song is a robin's war cry. When a rival bird intrudes on robin territory, the song becomes louder. If the rival bird doesn't retreat, the robin furiously attacks—still singing!

From the book: 
Petrified Lightning