The Cute Little Robin In Your Backyard

The American Robin is such a common site in our lives it is easy to not pay them any attention. But they do bare taking a second glance. The North American Robin is a migratory songbird. It is named after the European Robin, because of their reddish orange breast, although they are not closely related. It is also the state bird for Michigan, Connecticut, and Wisconsin.

The main difference between male and female Robins are that females are paler in color than the males. These birds average from 8-11 inches in height and wingspan from 12-16 inches.

Robins can have 1-3 successful broods a year, although 2 broods a year is most common. Each clutch produces 3-5 eggs, eggs are about an inch in length. Their eggs are a robins egg blue of course, just like the crayon named after them! They are said to be the prettiest of all bird eggs. 

They are unmarked and a sky blue or blue-green color. Although out of all the nests, only 40 percent of the eggs produce successful hatchlings on average. Then out of those young birds, typically only 25 percent survive till November. And from those birds, only about half will survive to the next year. You would think with the high mortality rate Robin's would be about extinct. But their population is said to be stable, if anything, on the rise. The oldest recorded American Robin was 13 years, 11 months. Although on average the entire populations turns over every 6 years.

American Robins are one of the earliest birds to lay their eggs in the spring. Beginning to breed shortly upon arriving to their summer range. The female Robin chooses the nest location, typically on the lower half of a tree, and sometimes in gutters, outdoor light fixtures, in eves, etc. In the prairies, they commonly build their nests in thickets or on the ground. After choosing the nest site, she will begin building her nest from the inside out. She will press dead grass and twigs using the wrist of one of her wings to create a cup shape. They also use materials such as paper, roots, moss, feathers, string, etc. When the cup is formed, the female Robin will then reinforce the nest with mud and worm castings (organic materials derived from plant and animals matter) to create a stable and sturdy nest. She will then cushion the nest with grass and other soft materials. Once complete the nests average 6-8 inches in diameter and 3-6 inches high. The incubation period for the eggs range from 12-14 days. Hatchlings are mostly naked and helpless at birth. The young Robins only stay in the nest for about 15 days. Then the mother will start over and begin another clutch (brood). During summer females stay in their nests, while males gather in roosts. As young Robins grow and become more independent they will go and join the males in the roosts. Adult females go to roosts only after they have finished nesting. Robin roosts can be huge, sometimes consisting of hundreds of thousands of birds during winter.

Robin's enemies are cats, large snakes, and hawks and are vulnerable to pesticide poisoning since they eat mainly on lawns. Their diet consists mainly on fruit in the autumn and winter. They have been know to become intoxicated when they feed exclusively on Honeysuckle berries. Often Robins will earth earthworms, insects and snails, in the morning, and fruit later in the day. They eat very large quantities of fruit, including hawthorn, sumac fruits, Chokecherries, dogwood, and juniper berries. As fruit and insects consist of most of their diet, Robins have to migrate in winter when food becomes scarce.

Robins, these common little birds are so typical it is easy to pay them no attention at all. But It is fun to get to know the birds in your backyard. Birdwatching is can be fascinating, and is said to be one of America's favorite past times.

Article Source: Cassidy Frost

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