Sunday, June 01, 2008

Baby Robins have Left the Nest

Here is some information I found at suite101 about robins. We really enjoyed watching the birds nest and watching the babies develop so close to our home.

American Robin: Backdoor Neighbor
Description, Range, Habitat, Nesting Habits, Food for Robins

The familiar "cheerily, cheerup" song of the robin, his vivid breast, his early spring arrival, and his love our proximity makes him a favorite American bird.


The robin is the largest American thrush and ranges in size from 9-11 inches. They are gray on their top half and an orangish red on their breast and belly. The head and tail of the male is black, while the females head and tail is gray consistent with the rest of her top half.


When settlers first came to the United States, robins were actually quite rare. Their relatives, the family of thrushes, all lived in the forests. However, the robin was a specialized bird and stayed near the clearings among the trees. Before settlement, those clearings were rare. It wasn’t until settlers began clearing the land and moving west that robins became the ubiquitous symbol of the suburban backyard wildlife across the entire United States and Canada.

Preferred Habitat

Originally, their preferred habitat was open woods and swamps. Now, most robins prefer the suburban landscape with the evenly manicured yards and openly spaced trees.

Courting Habits, Nesting Habits and Fledglings

The courting habits of robins are low key. The male stakes out his territory. When he is ready for a female, he sings. Soon a female appears on his territory. Now they are mates. Too bad human relations aren’t so straightforward. Calvin Simonds describes one courting and ‘marriage’ of a pair of robins.

The male flew to the short grass of a well-grazed bit of pasture and began to sing. The female joined him there and the two pecked for a few moments gently at each other’s bills The male mounted, they mated, and then the two flew up to the tree where the nest was to be built” (Simonds, 104).

The natural nest habitat for a robin is a tree, preferably the protected branches of a conifer (robins often build their nests before the deciduous trees have leaves). However, like American settlers, the robin has become more civilized and prefers a well-groomed yard where he might choose a part of your house, a decorated pillar, an open porch, the support beams of your deck or gazebo are all prime locations to a robin.


Known for their appetite for worms, robins also eat insects and other fruits. If you have berries or fruit trees in your garden, you will have competition for the ripe fruits and it might be necessary to protect what you wish to harvest for yourself. In fact, robins like overripe fruit and will ingest it until they are staggering drunk.

Calvin Simonds describes robins suggest “a man who wants simultaneously to assert his respectability and his awareness of style. The American robin is much more properly our national bird than is the bald eagle. The bald eagle is representative of America’s predatory and scavenging frontier past. The robin represents our conservative, contemporary present (Simonds, 98).

Mahnken, Jan. The Backyard Bird-Lover’s Guide. Storey Communications, Inc, 1996

Simonds, Calvin. Private Lives of Garden Birds. Storey Books, 2002.

Bull and Farrand. Jr. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1997.

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