American Robin
Turdus migratorius
Family Turdidae

* Back dark gray. Heads of female birds slightly grayer than males.
* Breast brick red head and tail blackish.
* Young robins have speckled breasts.
* Head and body length: 9-11".

Natural History:
* Habitat: Deciduous forests, lawns, glades, farmlands, cities, and towns. Builds nests in shrubs and shade trees.
* Range: Throughout the United States. Winters south of Canada.
* Voice: A clear, prolonged song that rises and falls; ranging from tyeep to tut-tut-tut.
* Behavior: Robins are easily recognized by their distinctive erect posture as they hop across lawns and fields. They feed primarily on earthworms, but they also eat insects,small snakes, and orchard fruits and berries. Robin's eggs are pale blue, speckled with lighter blue or white.
* Native.

* Traditionally, robins are a sign of spring. Though most Americans would never think it today, they were once shot for food. The robin population was hard hit in the mid-twentieth century, with the widespread use of DDT. The chemical poisoned the worms and insects eaten by the robin, and had the ultimate effect of poisoning the birds outright and weakening the shells of its eggs, resulting in fewer hatchlings. For the classic text on the DDT problem, read "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson.

* The American Robin is the state bird of Michigan, Virginia, Connecticut, and Wisconsin.

* "A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage."
-William Blake, 1757-1827

* "Call for the robin-red-breast and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men."
-John Webster, 1580?-1625?

Approved by NR


Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005