Monday, March 28, 2011

Bird of the Week XXVl - Monday, March 28th, 2011

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the American robin. The Robin is the first true sign of spring for many people. The American Robin is a familiar sight pulling up worms on suburban lawns. The Robin is a large thrush with gray back and wings and red underparts. It has a dark head with white eye crescents (marks above and below the eye). The males and females look alike with the female paler, especially on the head.

The American Robin eats both fruit and invertebrates. Earthworms are important during the breeding season, but fruit is the main diet during winter. Robins eat different types of food depending on the time of day; they eat earthworms early in the day and more fruit later in the day. Because the robin forages (eats) largely on lawns, it is vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution. Robins will occasionally winter over here in Reading, surviving on berries.

In early spring, Robins can often be seen a big flocks in grassy fields feeding.

Robins have adapted very well to human-modified habitats. I bet you have seen and heard Robins in your yard, and maybe even have found a Robin nesting in a bush or shrub in your yard. Robins mate in the spring from April through July and may have as many as three broods (families). Their loud, musical, whistled song sounds like, "cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up."
Photos from All About Birds.

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