About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Photo Share: American Robin in rain puddle

At least the robins are enjoying all this rain! And here are some other fun facts on the American Robins:
  • Worms only make up about 15%-20% of the summer diet for American Robins. The rest of the diet is made up of other insects, fruit, nuts, and berries.
  • Contrary to popular belief, American Robins don’t find earthworms by hearing or smelling them. Robins find earthworms by cocking their head to one side, independently using each eye to look for visible signs of worms.
  • Most of the earthworms found in North America today did not exist prior to European settlement. They were imported mainly from Europe by early settlers. The worms or worm cocoons traveled in the rootstocks of plants brought by the settlers from their homelands. They were also release into the new world through soil that was used for ship ballast that was discarded after the voyage to the new world.
  • Robins can be attracted to a feeding station by offering mealworms, suet, nuts, fruit and a birdbath. It’s especially fun to offer mealworms during nesting season when the robins can stop and pick up a mouthful of tasty worms to take back to their babies. They will fill their mouth until you think nothing else could possibly fit inside and still continue to try to pick up more, dropping some in the process and then trying to pick up more.
  • On average, over 50% of all nesting attempts by American Robins fail to produce young. Out of the successful nesting attempts, only ¼ of the fledglings will survive until November. Robins live on average about 1 ½ years, but, according to bird banding records; the oldest known Robin found in the wild was almost 14 years old.
  • Robins typically nest from April through July and can have 2-3 broods in a season. The female does the nest building and incubates the eggs alone. Upon hatching, both parents feed the average brood of four young.
  • Robins usually return to the same area to nest each year and may occasionally use last year’s nest again after some renovation.
  • Robins are particularly vulnerable to pesticide poisoning due to their preference for foraging on lawns. Please don’t use poisons on your lawn.
  • During breeding season, male American Robins grow black feathers on their heads to attract females. Once the mating season is over, these feathers are lost.
  • A group of robins are collectively known as a "worm" of robins.

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