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Your Backyard Birds: American Robin

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American Robin

Scientific Name:  Turdus migratorius

The state bird of Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin, the American Robin is a familiar songbird in the thrush family.  They live in towns and woodlands, and are commonly seen on suburban lawns exhibiting their “running and stopping” behavior as they gather their morning worms.

american-robin-2

The America Robin feeds on different things throughout the day, including earthworms in the morning, and fruits and berries in the evening.  They are mostly active during the day and gather in large flocks at night to roost in trees in secluded areas.

The average life span of an American Robin is 2 years, with some living as long as 14 years.  Researchers have found that only 25% of young American Robins survive their first year.

Robins are considered a symbol of spring, and the color of their eggs coined the name Robin’s Egg Blue.  American Robins are especially fond of bathing, and are very attracted to backyard garden bird baths.

Juvenile American Robin

Juvenile American Robin

Identification Facts

 

Head to Tail Length: 9 – 11 inches

Distinctive Features: ruddy-orange breast and belly, white undertail coverts, dark head with semi-circle white eye ring, streaked throat, black back and wings, mainly yellow beak, the juvenile is paler in color with dark spots on its breast

Male & Female Characteristics: the male’s colors are brighter and his head is black, where the female’s head is gray.

Songs & Calls

The male American Robin’s whistled-song is commonly described as  “cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up…”. They often sing this song very early in morning and in the evening.

The American Robin uses it’s “peek, tut, tut, tut…” call to warn of predators, and makes the “he, he, he, he…” call (often compared to a horse’s whinny) when its nest is threatened.

American Robin – morning song

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American Robin – song variation

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American Robin - “peek-tut-tut-tut”

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American Robin – “he-he-he-he”

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American Robin Distribution

American Robin Distribution

Nesting Behavior

Distribution: The American Robin can be found throughout the continental United States

Nest Type: platform

Breeding Season: April – July, 2 -3 broods per season, one of the first North American birds to lay eggs

Migration: most migrate south to Florida, the Gulf Coast, central Mexico and Pacific Coast, returning north in February and March

 

American Robin Eggs

American Robin Eggs

Nest Facts: located 5′-25′ above ground, commonly between tree branches, close to human habitation and is built by the female alone, clutch consists of 3-5 eggs which female alone incubates, eggs hatch after 14 days and fledglings leave the nest about 2 weeks later

Recommended Bird House: Mounted Platform

Diet

Food Type: American Robins cannot digest hard fruits or grains, and they primarily eat worms, grubs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, soft fruit & berries (grapes, blueberries).  Commercially available food options include mealworms, or  insect and fruit suet.

Recommended Feeders: Ground Platform Feeder, suet feeder

Similar species

the thrush family is large and includes bluebirds, rufous-backed & clay-colored robins, aztec, dusky & eye-browed thrushes.

For more information

American Robin Blog- This web page documents the nesting behavior of the American Robin at the Seattle, WA home of biologist Tim Knight.

Wikipedia’s American Robin page

“by Bill Askenburg, Owner – New England Birdhouse. We specialize in fine architectural bird houses and feeders, offering handcrafted custom and stock replica bird houses and backyard birding supplies and garden decor.  For more information or articles please visit our blog.”

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1 comment

  1. Suzi Q says:

    Some of my Robins this year were very aggressive. So much so that I began to “shoo” them off. I mean c’mon, they were chasin off my 2 favorite bluejays who are, by the way , very sweet. :)

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