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American RobinRobin

Food and water will attract Robins to your yard.  Add the right trees and shrubs ,and the birds could nest in your backyard.

American Robins are a sign to many people that spring has arrived.  They are one of the most familiar birds to birdwatchers.  It is a treat to watch this red-breasted bird run, and hop around the lawn looking for worms or other insects.  You see them cock their head to one side and you know they have found a worm.

Identification - Pictures and Video

(Classification: Turdus migratorius)American Robin male

Robins have a dark gray back with dark stripes on a white throat.  Their bright red to orange breast makes them stick out.  The head and tail of the male are black.  The female is a little grayer, and not as brightly colored. 

Young birds will look the same except for a breast speckled with black spots.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

The American Robin is the largest thrush in North America.  Adults are 9 to 10 inches.robin young

The bird was given the name Robin by the early settlers, who thought that, with its reddish breast, it resembled the English robin.

Song


Robins have a clear cheery sound with a number of songs, and calls.  Many people are familiar with their cheer up, cheer up sound.  They are one of the first birds to begin singing in the morning, and one of the last to be heard at night.  The male is the most vocal especially during courtship.  The territory or whisper song is a soft hisselly-hisselly sound.

American Robin song SoundAmerican Robin
American Robin song 2 Sound

The mating song of the male is accompanied by him displaying and lifting his tail higher than his head.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

Habitat

American Robins can be seen in residential neighborhoods, parks, forests, and farmlands throughout much of the U.S. for most of the year.  In the fall and winter robins may gather into huge flocks of hundreds of birds.  Many robins move to woods where berry-producing trees and shrubs are common during winter.

Nesting and Breeding


During courtship the male feeds the female.  They also do gaping, where the males, and females approach each other and touch widely opened bills. Of course, there is much singing. 

The birds like to nest in open woodlands, grasslands with scattered trees, and your backyard.  Robins make a bulky nest of coarse grass, weeds, twigs, and mud lined with fine grass.  Breeding is in early April in the south to mid-may in the north. Females do most of the nest building.

You can find their nests in the forked branch of a tree or shrub, on the ledge of a building or cliff, or even on the ground.

Robin egg

There are usually 3 to 5 light blue eggs.  The female will incubate the eggs for 10 to 14 days, and then both parents will feed the young, which will leave the nest in 14 to 16 days.

See video below of American Robin hunting for food on the lawn. For other bird videos please visit our Youtube channel and subscribe or like our videos.

American Robn nest
Most videos on my site were taken with the Canon HG10 camcorder.

Food and Feeding

Robins eat mostly insects, fruits, berries, and earthworms.  Much of their foraging is on the ground but they also forage in trees.

How to attract Robins to your backyard

Water will attract robins and many other birds.  Robins love a birdbath, especially if there is running water, and they are fun to watch as they drink and bathe.  You will often see them under a sprinkler.
Here is great selection of bird baths and garden fountains.


Plat form feeders are good.  Robins will eat apples, grapes, other fruits, and suet.  They will also come to feeders with seeds, doughnuts, bread, peanut butter mixtures, and many other foods.

Natural food sources in your yard will attract them.  A damp lawn will have earthworms.  A pile of leaves or brush will have worms, and other insects they love such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetle grubs.  A good way to supply an area for them to forage in is to use fall leaves as mulch in your flowerbeds.  Keep in mind that pesticides are harmful to birds.

Planting berry bushes, and fruit trees is a good idea because a large part of their diet is fleshy fruits and berries.  A yard with natural fruit sources will be returned to over and over.

Robins will use a nesting shelf to build their nest in. This shelf can be attached to the side of a barn, garage, or under the eaves of a house.  Since the female lines the nest with mud it is good to have a source such as a garden.

A nesting shelf can be made from three boards nailed together to form the floor, back, and roof of a house.  Make it about 7 inches by 8 inches wide, and 8 inches high.  Mount it in a shaded spot.  A good place is on the side of your house under overhanging eaves.

Roosting or resting in trees, is common for these birds.  Groups of roosting robins may contain twenty to a few hundred birds, especially in winter.  Roosting helps protect them from predators, and they will often roost with other birds such as starlings.  Robins are highly migratory birds and can often be seen in large flocks.

Check out Robin posters

For more on food and feeding click here.
For more on feeders click here.
To learn about other favorite birds click here.

 
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