Creature Feature: American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
By Alex Card, CG Science
The American Robin can be seen during any season in Ohio. It forages busily for food and nesting materials despite the temperature. Individuals of either sex can be easily identified by their proud red breast, although females of the species sport slightly dimmer tones. A social bird, the American robin can often be found roosting with its own kind. It is also not uncommon to observe robins mingling with members of other bird species.
Its adaptability allows the American Robin to call anywhere “home,” although it prefers open fields and woodland rather than thick undergrowth. The sparsely-wooded greens on campus provide a perfect habitat for the robin, which is equally happy to build her nest in the eaves of Ellis Hall or a tree branch on College Green.
The American Robin partners remain monogamous for life and each assisting with care of the nestlings in its own way. Males hunt for food while females collect nesting material and incubate the eggs. After only two weeks, the nestlings set off on their own. However, the parents don’t suffer from empty-nest syndrome for very long. As soon as one brood of nestlings leaves, the mother and father prepare to raise another.
- Male robins sing to protect their territory and attract potential mates.
- The American Robin is one of the first birds heard in the spring, according to NatureWorks.
- Young robins rely fully on their parents in order to survive.
- According to the ODNR, robins breed primarily from April to July.
- The parents may raise up to three broods.
- The robin’s diet primarily consists of fruit, insects, larvae and worms according to NatureWorks.
- Robins primarily feed in the morning and evening, though a robin with young will often gather food throughout the day.
- American Robins can grow up to 11 inches in height, with a wingspan between 12 and 16 inches.