A Gaseous Robin?

I happened to look out the window one day and saw this robin sitting in a flower bed.  Something about how he looked made me notice him (her?).

When I first noticed him he looked a little fat, but right before my eyes he quickly swelled up as you see here.  After I took this picture I got distracted.  And a minute or two later when I looked out again …

… he was walking away looking normal!

Can anyone tell me what that was all about?

Update:  My young friend, Beth, at C. Beth Blog did some research on this and passed on the following info:  The Flame Robin is territorial, defending its territory against other members of its species and also Scarlet Robins where they co-occur…. The Flame Robin deploys a number of agonistic displays, including a breast-puffing display where it puffs its breast feathers.” From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_Robin

She points out that the robin species might not be the same, but all robins might exhibit the same behavior.  Sounds logical to me!  Thank, Beth.

9 Responses to A Gaseous Robin?

  1. Linda says:

    Oh my goodness! I’ve seen them fluff up before, but this is ridiculous! In that first picture, I thought the robin was hiding behind an orange rock. 🙂 He must have eaten a worm that had just been in the cucumbers.

  2. Sandra says:

    Linda — I saw a goose do this last year out at the edge of the lake. I assumed something was terribly wrong with it and that it died. But maybe it’s some kind of temporary thing.

    btw, did you see that Denny said on FB that maybe it has worms? He’s such a funny BIL. 🙂

  3. Hilary says:

    I’m wondering if that’s one of the ways it keeps cool. Perhaps it was settling in for a little dust bath.

  4. Sandra says:

    Hilary — Well, now I have lost all hope of someone having a definitive answer to my question. I was sure that even if no one else knew, YOU would be able to tell me exactly what was happening. But, I guess I should take heart that even your guess may be right. 🙂

  5. Candy says:

    Maybe she went in for a breast reduction??

  6. Sandra says:

    Ha ha, Candy. 🙂

  7. C. Beth says:

    I know I’ve read about robins proudly puffing their breasts, or something like that…but I’ve never seen it! I bet we can find an answer….

  8. C. Beth says:

    I did some searching, and this sounds like a reasonable reason:

    “The Flame Robin is territorial, defending its territory against other members of its species and also Scarlet Robins where they co-occur…. The Flame Robin deploys a number of agonistic displays, including a breast-puffing display where it puffs its breast feathers.” From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_Robin

    Even though this may be a different robin species, I think it makes sense that it would be a territorial display.

  9. Sandra says:

    That is so interesting, Beth! I bet that is what it was doing. Thanks for doing the research to solve my mystery. 🙂

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