Nature’s Notebook

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Photo for species Turdus_migratorius

During the breeding season, the American robin is one of the first birds to sing in the morning and one of the last to stop singing in the evening.
 

Photo Credit:
Melvin Yap

Turdus migratorius

American robin
What does this species look like?
What does this species look like?: 

Their upper side is dark gray with a darker head, and they have a rusty-orange breast and sides. They have white spots around their eyes and a dark tail. Adult males are darker than adult females and have a darker orange breast. Juveniles have a dark-spotted, orangish breast. Length: 25 cm (9.8 inches), wingspan: 43 cm (17 inches).

Where is this species found?
States & Provinces: 
AB, AK, AL, AR, AZ, BC, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MB, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NB, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NL, NM, NS, NT, NU, NV, NY, OH, OK, ON, OR, PA, PE, QC, RI, SC, SD, SK, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, YT
Distribution

Their breeding range extends from western and northern Alaska eastward across northern Canada to Labrador and Newfoundland, and south to southern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, northwestern Mexico (Sonora), southern Mexico (Oaxaca and Veracruz), U.S. Gulf Coast, and (rarely) central Florida; also resident in the mountains of southern Baja California. The winter range extends from southern Alaska (rarely), southern Canada, and the northern contiguous United States south to Baja California, Guatemala, U.S. Gulf Coast, southern Florida, Bermuda, western Cuba, and (rarely the northern Bahamas).

American robins inhabit a wide range of habitats, including forest, woodland, scrub, parks, thickets, gardens, cultivated lands, savanna, swamps, and suburbs. They are attracted to areas with damp ground or small fruits. They typically build nests on tree or shrub branches, or building ledges, although they sometimes use fences, posts, or cliff ledges; they occasionally even build their nests on the ground. Most of the time, their nests are 1-6 meters (3-20 feet) above ground.

General Phenology and Life History

Most American robins that nest in Alaska, Canada, and the northern United States migrate south for the winter. Southward migrations may begin in August and usually peak in October and November, although the specific timing varies among locations and years. In the southern United States, northward migrations begin in February. The robins arrive in breeding areas in the northern United States in March and April and usually begin laying eggs in April or May; nesting may continue into July. They incubate their eggs for 11-14 days. Both parents tend to the young, who leave the nest 14-16 days after hatching.

Which phenophases should I observe?
Activity

Do you see...?

Active individuals
One or more individuals are seen moving about or at rest.

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Feeding
One or more individuals are seen feeding or foraging. If possible, record the name of the species or substance being eaten or describe it in the comments field.

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Fruit/seed consumption
One or more individuals are seen eating the fleshy fruits, seeds, or cones of a plant. If possible, record the name of the plant or describe it in the comments field.

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Insect consumption
One or more individuals are seen eating insects. If possible, record the name of the insect or describe it in the comments field.

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Do you hear...?

Calls or song
One or more individuals are heard calling or singing.

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Singing individuals
One or more individuals are heard singing. Singing refers to stereotypical, simple or elaborate vocalizations (most commonly by males) used as part of territorial proclamation or defense, or mate attraction. It does not include relatively simple calls used for other forms of communication.

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Territorial individuals
One or more individuals are seen or heard defending a territory. This may be indicated by calls or song used as part of a territorial proclamation, chasing of an individual of the same species from a breeding area (but do not confuse this with courtship behavior, which in some species may involve chasing), or calls or displays directed at individuals of the same or a different species to defend a feeding area.

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Reproduction

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Courtship
A male and female are seen near one another and are engaged in courtship behavior. Do not include male displays in the absence of a female.

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Mating
A male and female are seen coupled in a mating position, usually with the male on top of the female.

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Nest building
One or more adults are seen constructing a nest or carrying nesting material.

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Occupied nest
One or more adults are seen sitting on a nest, entering or leaving a nest site under circumstances indicating its use for nesting (including nest defense behavior), or live eggs or nestlings are seen in a nest.

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Development

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Nestlings
One or more young are seen or heard in a nest.

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Fledged young
One or more young are seen recently departed from the nest. This includes young incapable of sustained flight and young which are still dependent on adults.

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Dead individuals
One or more dead individuals are seen, including those found on roads.

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Dead nestlings or young
One ore more dead nestlings or young are seen, including those found on roads.

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Method

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Individuals at a feeding station
One or more individuals are seen visiting a feeder, feeding station, or food placed by a person.

For abundance, enter the number of individual animals observed in this phenophase.