American Robin

(Turdis migratorius)

The Red Breasted American Robin, marks the return of Spring in most northern states, and all of Canada. They are one of the easiest birds to watch while they go about their nesting and feeding habits.

Actually, these birds spend the winter in much of its breeding range. However, because they spend less time in yards and congregate in large feeding flocks during winter, you're much less likely to see them.

During milder winters, it's more common to see them in some northern backyards.

These birds are often used as the standard to which other birds sizes are compared, (smaller than or larger than a robin).

Also one of the most common native birds of the East, and the largest of the Thrush Family.

Hardly a garden in North America has not been visited by this bird.

American Robin Description:

American Robins have gray upper parts and the familiar reddish breast, varying from pale rust to a dark brick red. Male and females look nearly identical. The female is a bit duller.

Notice the distinct eyeliner, found on both male and female.

Sometimes during nesting season you'll see mud on the breast of a female, since she is the one that builds the nest and lines the nest with mud. The average size of this bird is 9-11 inches long.

Often, you'll see these birds hoping on lawns, meadows, and golf courses
looking for earthworms.

They also eat insects, fruit, and berries.

Nesting Habits:

The song of the male robin is to advertise his territory or to attract a mate. Well before sunrise, and well after sunset, the robin can be heard. Look for him on top of a tree, pole or roof and often he is facing South so his breast can reflect the sun light.

You may also hear them often, just before the young hatch.

The female builds the nest of grasses, a middle layer of mud, then lined with fine grasses. They will also make use of wool, string and hair.

The nest is usually placed in the crotch of a tree or shrub 5-20 feet above ground. As concrete jungles grow, more robins are building nests on building ledges and many other man made objects.

The availability of mud at nesting time may entice these birds to nest nearby. If you are so inclined, make a small mud pit, or offer water near the ground.

American Robins 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 birds alive in any year will make it to the next.

Despite the fact that they can live to be 14 years old, the entire population turns over on average every six years.

The female robin lays 3-7 (usually 3-4 eggs) light blue eggs considered to be the prettiest colored eggs in the bird world.

robin eggs

The eggs are incubated for 12-14 days and the young leave the nest in about 14-16 days.

2 - 3 broods raised each season.

Feeding Habits:

The American robin will eat different types of food depending on the time of day and year. They eat

Earthworms early in the day and year when they can find them and more fruit later in the day and year.

Because they forage largely on lawns, they are vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution.

Once the first batch fledged, feeding often becomes the sole responsibility of papa as the mother is off building another nest.


robin dad and juvenile

While robins enjoy nesting near people and foraging in our yards, they will spend much of the year in open woods and mature fields.

This is a bird of woodland edges and openings. Preferring open ground on which it can forage for insects. Try placing fruit on tray feeders or planting fruiting shrubs to attract more of them to your backyard garden.

After the breeding season, they flock together and go to large communal roosts at night. This habit continues from fall through winter.

Robins are one of the few birds that has prospered from human activity.

Survivors will also return to the same territory year after year.

American Robin, Return to the Top of this Page

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