ubiquitous robin is a well-known visitor to lawns and parks.
In springtime, robins are usually the first birds to start
singing in the morning and often keep it up long into the
evening; I've heard the song of a robin at close to midnight
on several occasions.
red breast is the most familiar trait of our robins. The
brown-gray back and head offset the rusty red color of the
chest and underparts. The bill is slender and yellow and
there are white streaks on the throat to go with white eyerings
and white spots on the corner of the tail, often visible
in flight. Males tend to have darker heads and richer red
plumage compared to the paler breast and browner backs and
heads of females, but there is enough variation to make
some birds difficult to place based solely on plumage intensity.
Young birds are easily identified by their brown and white
are often found on the ground searching for earthworms.
They also will eat other small invertebrates they can catch.
The familiar and sometimes comical running then stopping
that they repeat is a clue that robins hunt for earthworms
by sight not smell or sound. In many cases, however, more
than half of this bird's diet will consist of berries and
fruits. If you want to bring them to your feeder area, offer
fruit in a tray feeder. They love birdbaths as well
and will arrive in flocks to enjoy a nice bath, summer and
I say winter? Don't robins go south for the winter? Yes
and no. Migration depends on the bird and the weather. In
some winters large populations of robins remain in the northern
parts on the U.S. and even southern Canada. Mild weather,
heated birdbaths or other sources of open water, availability
of winter berries, or simply the desire to tough it out
for the first crack at the best breeding territories can
inspire a robin to overwinter. In most of the southern U.S.
robins are a year-round resident and their summer breeding
range takes them to the Canadian North and as far as Alaska.
Over-wintering robins are called "Resident Robins"
and will stay within their resident flocks numbering in
the hundreds. Scientists are looking at information
which may point to a genetical variation between resident
robins and those that migrate.
robin's nest and baby robins are usually the first baby
birds that many children remember seeing. Why?
Because robins will nest anywhere.
We know you're familiar with this: they'll nest on lights
by your front door, under the deck - right by your barbecue
of course, and in general anywhere you seem to visit on
a regular basis, causing you and your family to re-route
for the 12-14 days it takes to incubate the "robin's
blue" eggs. Momma robin will always return to
her nest though, so don't worry too much about permanently
scaring her away. She'll lay 3-4 eggs and the nestlings
will fledge in 12-14 days. Robins, like many other
birds, cannot fly when they first leave the nest.
A young spotted-breast robin wandering aimlessly through
the yard has often been incorrectly indentified as an orphan
by well-meaning home owners. Watch carefully and you'll
see the parents teaching it to search for food. The
juvennile robin will be flying within 7 days of leaving
The bad (or good) news? Robins will have multiple
broods a year, so your front porch may be in use most of
the summer by your robin!
Interesting fact from Cornell's Lab of Ornithology:
American Robin can produce three successful broods in one
year. On average, though, only 40 percent of nests successfully
produce young. Only 25 percent of those fledged young survive
to November. From that point on, about half of the robins
alive in any year will make it to the next. Despite the
fact that a lucky robin can live to be 14 years old, the
entire population turns over on average every six years."
listen to the American Robin's beautiful song!
file generously donated by John Feith