I have been planning to put together a NatureWatch profile featuring the American Robin, but I’ve been missing some really good singing sequences. So on this clear-sky early April morning, I set out to remedy the situation … and what good luck I had!
I arrived at the “Cornell Plantations Arboretum” area promptly at 7am, just before the sun began hitting the treetops. The place is full of robins, with males already quite busy setting up their territories. Fortunately, most individuals are tolerant of people, due to the large number of visitors that walk the trails.
What more could one ask … “friendly” birds that will perch nearby and and sing for you … for free!
Well, it’s never quite that easy, but my odds were greatly increased for sure. Altogether, I videotaped three singing males. The first two were “so-so” in terms of the quality of the footage. But then I found a fairly colorful male singing in the open at the top of a tree. He didn’t seem to care a whit about me walking around the tree, looking for a good angle! Success at last!
Before leaving, I followed a group of robins as they looked for earthworms in a grassy area, and I managed to snag a nice clip of one swallowing a worm! At one point, the group flew up into a sumac shrub and nibbled at the berries, and I got a snippet of that behavior. I am told that sumac berries are not a preferred food, but robins fresh back from migration aren’t too fussy!
Another fun catch was a Blue Jay giving musical notes as he bobbed up-and-down. Very exciting, and totally unexpected. Surprisingly, Blue Jay footage is a challenge to get, at least during breeding season when they lay low.
Please note that the audio is not at all that good. When I incorporate this footage into final videos, I will clean things up considerably, and I may even resort to using other of my recordings and dub them in, “lip-synching” for optimal effect.
In order to get excellent sounds for the great footage of the singing robin, I plan to go back on the first calm morning and get very clean recordings of that exact same robin, using a big parabolic microphone. Since he repeats many of the same phrases time and again, I fully expect to end up with “perfect sound” for that clip when I add it to my forthcoming American Robin NatureWatch profile.
NOTE FROM LANG: This post is part of my early experimentation with blogging brief, immersive “video vignettes” that feature completely fresh video just gathered in the field. If these are well-received, it gives me (and other members of our team) a nice way to share videos quickly, without worrying about each production being “perfect”. I like the concept. Do you?