Robins that won't fly

So, the other day as I was jogging through the park near my house, I noticed that there were robins everywhere. During my run, a couple of them were on the path, and they WOULD NOT FLY! They ran down the path in front of me for quite a while before finally running off to the side, and never did take to the air. I noticed the same thing on campus the other day too that several of the red breasted birds were running around dodging students rather than just flying up into a tree. Does anyone know if this is normal behaviour for the bird? And if it is, WHY??

Pigeons do it all the time… I figure if they live in a park, they’re somewhat used to people, and flying is more work than hopping if you’re not really in danger.

When I was a wee lad (1960s), we were taught a little ditty:

*Poor little robin

Walking, walking, walking to Virginia

'Cause he won’t fly*

I’m sure there was more to it, but I can’t remember the rest.

Young robins (who’ve only flown once or twice) will often just run… they may lack the confidence to fly again :D. They have little speckles in the red, and also seem to be the ones that cats catch most often. But yeah, the adults know people aren’t trying to hunt them down, and don’t need to do much more than get out of the way. Now start sprinting after them and actually significantly close the distance, and they’ll fly for sure.

Well, you don’t look like a cat, do you? I’m hardly an avian expert (brachy?), but years of spending time in building parking lots have afforded me the opportunity to observe city bird behavior.

I’ll admit I was surprised when I came to realize how much time they do spend walking. Various sorts will land, often in groups, and walk large portions of the parking lot before taking wing again, and they seem generally unafraid of me. Heck, they’ll walk right past me.

Birds require quite a bit of energy to take to wing. It is much more effiecent to hop. If they felt in danger they would fly.

But since a bird spends most of his day looking for food he knows unless he is in danger it is a waste of his time. So it is HOP HOP HOP.