The American Robin

The presence of this rather tame songster in the backyard setting with its loud and musical voice, makes it one of the most easily recognizable birds in North America.

The American Robin is the largest, most abundant, and most widespread North American thrush. The presence of this rather tame songster in the backyard setting, together with its loud and musical voice, makes it one of the most easily recognizable birds in North America. Indeed, “robin red-breast” has been described as “America’s favorite songbird” and its annual arrival in northern latitudes is an early sign of spring. Most people know the robin as a breeding bird of suburbs and farmland, where it forages in moist grass, often tugging at worms on garden lawns, and nests in shade trees.


The extent to which the robin ranges across the North American continent and thrives in both suburban and natural habitats is shared with few other species.


The diet of the robin is also highly variable, changing from primarily soft invertebrates, especially earthworms, in spring and summer, to primarily fruit in autumn and winter.


During the non-breeding season, large flocks of hundreds or thousands of immature and adult birds migrate to lower elevations and latitudes, where they form roosting aggregations from which they track sources of berries. At this time, the birds are more wary than they are when on the breeding grounds.


Not all robin populations are migratory, however, some spend the winter months close to their breeding grounds.


With a few exceptions, robin populations appear to be increasing or stable throughout North America. Thriving in suburban parks and gardens, the robin has often benefited from urbanization and agricultural development.


It is interesting to note that the robin was considered a food delicacy and worthy of “sport” from colonial times through mid-1800s. Large numbers were shot and trapped for sale.


Today robins are often hit by vehicles when flying across roads and susceptible to flying into glass windows when flocks feed in vegetation near buildings.

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