American Robin -- School-age
Things to Know
The robin is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Robins are a sign of Spring! American Robins are common sights across North America.
Robins are popular birds because of their reddish-orange breast, cherry song, and early appearance at the end of winter. Only the male American Robin sings, but both sexes have calls and alarm notes. They are migratory songbirds that can be found from Canada to Mexico.
The American Robin is named after the European Robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related. Robins are part of the thrush family and are the largest North American thrushes about 10 - 11 inches long (23 - 28 cm). They are large songbirds with a large, round body, long legs, and long tail. Robins make a good reference for identifying and comparing the size and shape of other birds.
The robin's most striking feature is its reddish-orange breast. They are gray-brown with a slightly darker head. They have long brown legs and a thin yellow bill.
When in flight white under the tail and a white patch on the lower belly can be seen. The female robin's coloring is simialar to the male, but she is a slightly paler color. The young robin looks similar to the parents but has a heavily spotted breast.
American Robins are common across the North American continent. They live in a range of habitats: gardens, parks, fields, yards, pastures, pine forests, deciduos woodlands, shrublands, and even the tundra
Robins eat large numbers of both invertebrates (animals without backbones such as insects and worms) and fruit. Their main food in a robin's diet is berries supplemented with worms, larva, and insects. In spring and summer they eat large numbers of earthworms as well as insects.
Robins usually return to the same area to nest each year. Female robin's build the nest that are made of twigs, mud, and lined with dry grass. Sometimes the nest will have string, ribbon, paper, and other materials that the robin finds nearby. The finished nest is 6 inches across and 4-6 inches high.
The female robin chooses the nest site. The bowl shaped nest are built on horizonal branches hidden usually below a layer of dense leaves. Robins prefer to nest in spruce or maple trees but they are very adpatable and will buuid their nest in different types of trees and buildings. They will usually return and use the same nest from previous years.
The female typically lays two clutches of eggs each year. A clutch of eggs is the total number of eggs laid in one nesting attempt. A clutch consists is typically 3 to 5 eggs.
The eggs are robin's egg blue. It takes about 14 days for the eggs to hatch. The female sits on the nest while the male gurards the area. Upon hatching, both parents feed the brood of young chicks. The chicks stay in the nest about 15 days.
The robin returns to northern areas when the worms come out in the spring. The males arrive first with the females following about a week later.
In late summer and early fall robins flock together and start their migration southward for the winter. At this time the robin's diet consistes mostly of berries and other fruits. When they can not find enough food they start to head south for the winter. In cold climates during the winter there is not enough food to feed all the robins. Most robins will migrate south for the winter. A few robin's will stay in the north during the winter eating a diet of mostly crabapples, berries, and other fruits they can find.
The Robins in Your Backyard (Accelerated Reader Program series)
By Nancy Carol Willis
Learn about the American Robin from its return in the spring to the hatching of eggs, the chicks growing up and leaving the nest, and then the return flight south. A charming book for those curious about American Robins.
An easy robin craft to make using construction paper and a template.
Make rocking robins using cardboard or old cereal boxes.