listening for the wormnot convinced


I have often wondered, is the robin listening for the worm? Or does he feel the movement under his feet? Either way, it’s pretty amazing! Isn’t it? His hearing and other senses are obviously heightened and magnified. I can imagine that he probably would die if too close to a rock concert, because his sensitivities would be pushed up and over his limit to the point of madness.

And this made me think of hearing in general. It’s such a gift, to be sure. But I think we all have selective hearing. When we’re sharing space with strangers, we tune them out,  heads hunched over our phones, I-pods in our ears. These little tiny portable items, that hold music, phone numbers, addresses, texting conversations, google. Basically, they help us to tune out the world daily.

Whenever I observe animals, I am always amazed at how aware they are of everything around them, at all times.  And how in tune they are with their environment. They know where the worms are! The bears know where to fish.  The raptors have such exquisite vision that they can see vole urine in the snow!

And whenever I’m taking a picture of an animal, it looks right at me. Tolerating me. Letting me into its world. As long as I keep my distance. And we both have to agree on how far away that can be.

Would that we could all be so in tune with our environment, our emotions, our inner guidance, our hearts. We could. If we would just get quiet. And listen.

robin in blue flowerbed

42 comments on “Listening

  1. I can make a sudden move in my kitchen, and just outside that window the birds in the feeder hanging on my orchid tree will scatter for a few seconds before returning to eat. I’m never surprised anymore on the strength of their senses. But I will never stop enjoying their company. Thanx for the post.

    • Yes, it’s so true. If you don’t become part of their environment and get them to trust you, they go away. Try sitting outside for at least 15 minutes though, giving them their space of course, and you will see them come back and tentatively feed, then fly away real quick until they see that you’re not coming to hurt them. Then they will mostly all come back and resume what they’d been doing before you came. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Oh, I love this post!! Nature teaches us so many lessons! 🙂 We should really observe it more closely 🙂 Thank you lovely Linda for a beautiful post! (PS I think I am little bit like those birds because when I hear a loud sound, like a pot falling to the ground or fireworks, I just immediately start crying! Not because I am so scared, it is just the loud sounds that have such an effect on me! Everyone laughs at me for it, and love to tease me about it, but I don’t like it when they laugh and tease, I am just made like that!)

      • PS: Yesterday my talkative braincells were on strike. Today I want to tell you I wondered the same thing after reading your lovely post so I googled it and found out that It turns out that hearing is the most important sense of the Robin – that the Robin listens for the small noises a worm makes while burrowing along in the ground.

        The robin DOES use its other senses too – watching for movement, feeling for rumbling with its feet. But the main sense that helps out the most is the robin’s hearing. One sense a robin does NOT use is its sense of smell. The robin has a really poor sense of smell though.

        Just like you I am always fascinated by the creatures and everything I capture on camera and that is one of the reasons why I love your blog and posts so much and also your stunning photography. 😀

        Love what you said about tuning in with the enviroment and everything else around us. I tend to tune most people out and noise of course. I hate noise. It’s more fun sitting by the Vervet monkeys when they visit and just be in tune with them and tune out the world and all its problems and ugliness. Nature sure reminds us everyday that not everything is ugly and it’s how we see things and like you said – we have to be tuned in more. 😀

  3. I was in Manhattan yesterday and very happy to tune out to the noise around me. I don’t know how people can take it day in day out. That said, tuning in to nature is wonderful. It brings us back to what matters. ♥

    • So true Maryse. There are many situations in which I wish I would have those little ear pieces! I have to rely on my own filtering out abilities! developed probably when i learned how to ignore my mother when she was telling me what to do! (Wish i could go back and undo that.)

  4. I agree, I think we do tune a lot of things out in life. And birds in general do seem very sensitive to sound and vibration. A sharp crack or a pop in the distance can be enough for a whole bunch of birds to evacuate a nice comfortable spot on a tree! It’s a good job these animals are sensitive and observing, because they would die if they weren’t. Doesn’t say much about us, browsing the supermarket shelves for a steak or a chicken to roast. I don’t think we’d be very good at spotting chicken urine in the snow! 😉

    • Yes Suzy, birds are so sensitive. I have seen that whole tree evacuation thing a ton of times! A very frustrating experience, but one that is all too familiar. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Thank you Sonel for your explanation to this question! I appreciate your research. And thank you also for the wonderful compliments. I know you put a lot of time and research into your posts, and I always learn something new from you.

  6. This was so well written that I had to reread it again! We all must learn to be more quiet, listen, see and feel more. You know why I love that bird, right? Smile! I appreciate that you notice these things while you take such beautiful photos of God’s creatures! Amazing post!

  7. Linda, the final picture of the robin is perfect. Your wish that we could all ‘get quiet’ is appropriate for this decade when people seem to be plugged in even if they are walking to the corner store. Nature has a lot to say–but few are listening.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  8. Your beautiful pic really captures why it is so thrilling and mesmerizing to encounter wildlife! Even the ubiquitous robin… Your work is completely “tuned in”.

  9. Really does look like its listening – and then hollering out a “jackpot!” in the last pic. Haha!

    • Well, our hearing is never as good as the robin! And I’m guessing they don’t lose that ability when they get old, like us, because they need it for their survival.

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