Here at the Robin Diaries, most of our posts tend to have a cheerful tone. It just goes with the territory when you’re writing about the miracle of new life. The casual reader might conclude that we’re all about warm, fuzzy, feel-good journalism. But that simply is not the case. In fact, we are serious journalists who are not afraid to tackle the controversial issues of the day. (Although we’re certainly not above using adorable pictures of baby robins to increase our readership.)
So today, I would like to address the issue of substance abuse among robins. It’s a topic that isn’t often discussed in polite society – perhaps it’s just too uncomfortable of a topic. But it’s a problem that we can’t ignore, and today, I’m going to break the silence. That’s just the kind of hard-hitting, investigative journalist that I am.
I first became aware of the dangers of substance abuse in the avian population while reading a Wikipedia article about the diet of the American robin:
The American Robin's diet generally consists of around 40 percent invertebrates, such as beetle grubs, caterpillars and grasshoppers, and 60 percent wild and cultivated fruits and berries. They will flock to fermented Pyracantha berries, and in sufficient quantities will exhibit intoxicated behavior such as falling over while walking.But being the hard-hitting investigative journalist that I am, I wasn’t willing to take Wikipedia’s word for it. So I decided to do a little research of my own. After doing a quick google search for “drunk robin,” I discovered that there are an alarmingly large number of women named Robin who get a kick out of posting photos and videos of themselves in an inebriated state for all the world to see. But that’s a topic for another post.
My search eventually turned up a Youtube video of a bird staggering around after eating some fermented cherries. At this point, you may be thinking, “Maybe these birds just eat fermented cherries socially. What’s the big deal?” That was my attitude, too, until I read this article about a flock of starlings in Romania that died from flying drunk. Apparently a harsh winter had made it difficult for the birds to find suitable food, so they chose instead to dine on grape marc, which is a byproduct of winemaking. Dozen of starlings died as a result their debauchery. Yes, folks, it’s all fun and games until somebody (or a whole flock of somebodies) gets killed.
Now that Mrs. Robin is a local celebrity, this topic hits particularly close to home for me. We're all familiar with the cautionary tales of Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and countless other young starlets who have succumbed to the temptation to overindulge in fermented berries. Bill and I recently had a candid discussion with Mrs. Robin, and we warned her of the dangers of fermented berries. We let her know that she can call us any time -- day or night -- and request a ride home if she is unfit to fly.
OK, now that I've done my journalistic duty and tackled an important social issue, I hope to have some warm, fuzzy pictures of baby robins to share with you in the near future.