American Robins, the red-breasted birds, or for some, the "Red Robin Bird" mark the return of Spring to most folks in the northern states.
One of the easiest birds to watch while they go about their nesting and feeding habits, since they're in most people's backyards.
Unknown to many people, Robins spend the winter in much of their breeding range.
However, because they spend less time in yards and congregate more in wooded areas, you may not see them as often.
During milder winters, it's more common to see them in our backyards.
These birds are often used as the standard to which other bird sizes are compared; one of the most common native birds of the East, and the largest of the Thrush Family.
Hardly a garden in North America has not been visited by these birds. Often referred to as the Red Robin.
American Robins has gray upper parts and the familiar reddish breast, varying from pale rust to a dark brick red.
Male and females look nearly identical. The female colors are less vibrant.
Sometimes during nesting season, you'll see mud on the breast of a female since she is the one that lines the nest with mud.
The average size of an adult Robin is 9 to 11 inches long.
Juvenile Robins are like the adults but are spotted on the breast and have shorter tails when they first fledge.
Often, you'll see these birds hopping on lawns, meadows, and golf courses looking for earthworms. They also eat insects, fruit, and berries.
At the start of the Robin nesting season, the male's song is to advertise his territory or to attract a mate. You'll hear them the most just before the young hatch.
The typical American Robin breeding season runs from April to July. Nesting may begin earlier in the southern states.
The female builds her Robin nest, which is made of grasses, a middle layer of mud, then lined with fine grasses.
The nest is placed in the crotch of a tree or shrub 5-20 feet above the ground. Video below shows a Robin nest being built on a nesting shelf.
The availability of mud at nesting time may entice these red robin birds to nest nearby. They will also make use of wool, string and hair.
The American Robin can produce up to three successful broods in one year. On average, two clutches are raised with less than half being successful.
Robins are very protective of their nest and territory. You'll find Robin repeatedly flying into windows.
Only a quarter of those that do fledge survive until November. From that point on, about half of the birds alive in any year will make it to the next.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the total population turns over on average every six years.
The female lays 3-7 light blue eggs that are incubated (gestation period, not the term for birds) and will hatch in 12-14 days and the young leave the nest in about 14-16 days.
This red robin bird will return to the same territories from season to season.
Sometimes they build a new nest on top of their old one. I've seen as many as three on top of one another.
It's a good idea to remove the old nests in baskets and off of downspouts and rafters in fall so that parasites don't overwinter.
Removing the nest protects future broods should they return to the same site because parasites may travel from the old nest to the new nest.
Sometimes a single female will build several nests close to one another. She will eventually select one to raise her young in.
No one knows why they do this from time to time. The image below shows what a Robin's Nest and its blue eggs look like.
The Robin's nest is the one most people think of when they are thinking of what any bird's nest looks like.
Perfectly round with a mud base, grasses line the outside and soft material for the eggs to rest on.
Robin nest are so well built that it's not uncommon to find Doves reusing a Robins' nest to lay their eggs and raise young.
Robins eat different food depending not only on the time of year but even the time of day.
They eat earthworms early in the day and switch to eating fruit later in the day.
Robins don't eat regular birdseed, but that doesn't mean you can't attract them to your feeders.
Try using an open tray feeder and placing dried raisins, grapes, and even grape jelly.
Robins love Mealworms, which are inch-long larvae, with brown, crusty shells, available from pet supply stores or online.
The perfect feeder for offering grape jelly or mealworms is this Bird Feeder.
Because Robins forage largely on lawns, they are vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution.
This is a bird of woodland edges and openings. Preferring open ground on which it can forage for insects to eat and feed their young.
Try placing fruit on tray feeders or planting fruiting shrubs to attract more of them to your backyard garden.
After the breeding season, Robins flock together and go to large communal roosts at night. This habit continues from fall through winter.
As it gets later in the season around July or August, you begin to notice less Robins around your yard.
Once the nesting cycle winds down and juvenile Robins are getting along on their own, the adult Robins move to more forested areas.
The hot summer sun is baking our yards and earthworms and insects have burrowed deeper into the soil where Robins can't see them.
The forest floor, with its leaf litter and ripening berries, offers a bounty of food that will sustain the Robins through fall and some through winter.
A good percentage of baby Robin birds are lost due to people thinking they've rescued the little one.
The juveniles are often found on the ground without what seems to be any parental oversight.
Humans catch these newly fledged birds and take them inside, not knowing they've rescued a bird that didn't need rescuing.
Be careful around the nest or young birds on the ground as the adult may attack you. Read more here - Robin Diving at Humans.
You see, when baby robins first leave the nest, they are unable to fly. Some jump to higher branches in the nest tree and some take a tumble to the ground but land softly.
These baby birds are fine. The adults will continue to care for them for 10 or more days after they leave the nest.
If you're worried they may be in harm's way, help them to a nearby shrub for protection so that the adults will find and continue feeding them.
The adult birds can see you a block away. So don't assume because you don't see any adult birds that there are none around.
Adult Robins are listening for the juveniles and will find them if you keep them close to where you found them.
Please share this information with others who may think they're helping these young birds.
Keeping your cats indoors during the nesting season will go a long way in helping our birds.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and enjoy the Red Robin.
Visitors to this site have submitted photos and stories of some Robins unusual nesting places that they choose to raise their young.
Robins Nesting in Hanging Plants
Watch Videos of Our Nest Experience
Learn About Attracting Robins To Your Backyard
Watch as Baby Robins (juvenile) Leave The Nest
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