American Robin

American RobinTurdus americanus
After a long winter, the appearance of robins is a welcome sign that spring is here. One of our most familiar birds, American robins are found throughout most of North America. From wilderness areas to urban areas, robins are capable of living in a variety of habitats

Identification

A medium-sized songbird, the most obvious field mark is the rusty orange breast colour, which contrasts with the grey to light brown upperparts. Adult birds have a yellow bill with a black tip, juveniles have a pinkish/grey bill. Overall, juvenile birds look similar to adults but have a lighter breast that is flecked with black spots. Males and females look similar; however, males can be identified by their head and tail, which appears noticeably darker than the rest of the body.

Diet

The diet of robins varies throughout the year with insects and other invertebrates such as earthworms forming the bulk of their diet during the breeding season. During the winter when invertebrates aren’t abundant, small fruits become an important food source.

Nesting

Robins are one of the earliest species to start nesting in our area as early as April. Their nests are a cup that is generally made of mud, grass twigs. They are notorious for placing their nests everywhere: trees, shrubs, door frames, windowsills, and pretty much everywhere they can find enough space! A normal nest will have 3-4 light blue eggs and if conditions are right robins may nest up to three times during a season.

Where to find them

In southern Quebec robins can be found relatively easily from spring until fall. They inhabit a variety of habitats from the coniferous forests of the north, to heavily developed areas. During the warmer months they can often be seen running around lawns hunting for earthworms, in the fall it is possible to see large flocks flying over or foraging in areas with lots of food. Though the majority of robins migrate out of Quebec during the winter months some may overwinter where there are abundant fruit trees.

How to attract

Because robins are so prevalent in many habitats they are often already present in many backyards. However robins will appreciate the addition of water features and birdbaths to a yard. As robins eat a considerable amount of small fruits planting crab apples, high bush cranberries, wild grapes and other fruiting plants can serve as an attractant, especially during the winter months when food is scarcer.

American Robin American Robin American Robin