The Great Backyard Bird Count of 2010, conducted each year by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, named the American Robin the top most-counted bird in the country. Easy to identify, the American Robin was named after the European Robin by early settlers because of it’s similar, orange breast.
Our largest thrush, robins are found throughout North America, from northern Canada and Alaska in summer, south to Central America in winter. They’re a familiar sight in parks, backyards, cities, and in woods and mountains. Considered a resident or short distance migrant, robins can be seen anywhere south of Canada, even in winter.
When you see robins hopping across your lawn, it’s usually in spring when they’re locating earthworms to feed their young. Although they appear to be listening to sounds from the earth, it’s believed they’re actually looking closely for signs of digging. In summer, a robin’s diet consists of insects, earthworms, fruits and berries. In winter their diet is almost entirely of fruits and berries that linger on trees such as hawthorns, chokecherries, sumac fruits, apples and juniper berries.
You can sometimes lure robins to a feeder with apple slices, berries, mealworms—and even fruit or berry flavored suet. And robins readily will nest in your yard. You can offer them a nesting shelf on the side of a shed or barn or up on a post.
Robins may have as many as three broods each nesting season. They’re prolific nest builders and many people have reported an un-mated female building nest after nest, sometimes even on top of previous nests, on flat surfaces and air conditioners! It’s made with mud and sticks and lined with soft grasses—a sturdy affair that is usually built in the crotch of a tree and can be seen long into winter. The female will lay 3 to 7 beautifully colored, blue eggs which hatch in about 12 to 14 days.
Like most thrushes, the robin has a beautifully varied voice as well as an interesting, clucking sort of call.