Wild Birds Unlimited – Omaha, NE

February 25, 2016

Robins – A Sign of Spring

Filed under: Birds,Robin — wbuomaha @ 1:53 pm
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Robin Singing

After a long winter, sight of the first robin is frequently considered a welcome sign that spring is near.  It is widely believed that all robins fly south for the winter.  In actuality some may weather the cold months as far north as Canada, flocking together so they are concentrated in smaller areas and less widely seen.  While some may return from southern climates, others return from wooded areas just a few miles away as the flocks disband for the nesting season.

Males appear on the nesting grounds before females.  Their territories range from less than half an acre to an acre.  Unlike many other species, their territories may overlap.  The male defends the territory by singing and fighting.  During the nesting season, the robin’s song is often one of the earliest of the day, frequently beginning just before dawn.

During courtship, several males may pursue the same female, but once the pairing is established they are normally (but not always) monogamous.  Although robins nest in a wide variety of locations, including ledges of human structures, they typically do not use birdhouses. The nest is cup-shaped, built of twigs, grass, mud, and miscellaneous other materials.  It is typically lined with soft plant fibers or animal fur.

Egg numbers range from three to seven, but usually there are four. Color is the familiar light blue.  Both parents feed the young.  Nestlings normally remain in the nest for thirteen to sixteen days. In a single season, robins will raise two to three broods.

Robins’ diets consist of earthworms, insects, spiders, caterpillars and many fruits and berries. Although they rarely visit seed feeders, you can entice them to fruit feeders with apples, cherries, grapes, raisins or berries.  Water sources such as birdbaths or shallow ponds attract them for drinking as well as enthusiastic splashy bathing.  They also like misty water and are frequently seen running around the yard during light rains. Manmade sources, including misters and lawn sprinklers that simulate light, misty rain, provide inviting substitutes.

Throughout the spring and summer, when you hear the cheerful song of early birds, listen and look carefully. Robins are probably welcoming the new day.

Robins w Htr & Bath c

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