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Poor Will's Almanack: September 26 - October 2, 2023

Fall Leaves in Cleveland, Ohio
Jen Goellnitz

Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack in the days of early autumn the time of the Apple Cider Moon, and the Sun in Libra.

After their fledglings have grown, robins often disappear from my yard for several weeks. The mornings become quieter, emptier without them.

The spring songs of the robins are loud and intense and uninhibited, including whinnies, sing-song chants, chirps and lengthy, melodious arias. By middle summer, robinsong changes when the young hatch and leave the nest.

Their courtship vocalizations become clucks and peeps as the parents guide the fledglings. And then the robins are silent, vanishing from yards and gardens.

Where do the robins go when the fledglings are grown?

I don't hear or see them until August or September when they reappear in the woods in small flocks, communicating by using the peeps and clucks with which they talked to their fledglings. I imagine their late-summer withdrawal to be part of the process of molting, for rest and renewal maybe solitude before their autumnal migration.

At summer's end, the retreat of the robins is one of many patterns that complement the transformation of foliage and the chilling of the weather. It contributes the mood and the momentum of fall.

And that makes sense to me, seems meaningful, tells me I should take time and get ready, too.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with more notes on the seasons. In the meantime, be like the robins; hide out a while, get ready.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.