Bird’s Eye View on the American robin.

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June 3, 2011

Have you observed birds lately?    Let’s take a bird’s eye view on a popular bird that can be found everywhere in Canada and the US.

Robins are well known birds in our city.  No matter where you go you will find one on a branch or trying to grab a worm…

But what do they look like at the various stages of their life?

This year, I was blessed to see some fresh robin’s eggs in a nest on my neighbour ‘s Japanese Lilac.   I wish the robins had build their nest in mine, but I am glad I can access it with a small ladder.

I saw mama bird building the nest over the past couple of weeks.  Last week, she was still at it.  Putting mud and other things together.  Gently building it.  I thought I would wait a few days and go take a peek to see if there were some eggs.  *grin*   I never saw a robin’s egg before.  Seen it in pictures, yes, but seeing it in the outdoors would be simply amazing…

So this morning, I took the little ladder out of the furnace room in the basement and took it outside with my camera.   I climbed carefully.   Mama bird didn’t like this.   She flew out in the hopes that I would follow… I kept an eye on her and heard her cries.   She wasn’t happy whatsoever.   Carefully, I pulled a few branches and looked into the nest.  Two eggs.   Beautiful robin blue eggs.   I snapped a few pictures and came back down.   Dominic, my child who loves animals big and small, wanted to see.  He went up and peeked in.   He quickly came back down and was very happy to have seen them.

Last year, as we were driving to Boston for a few days of vacation, we stopped at a campsite in New York State.    In the play structure, there was a nest with baby birds in it.   I wasn’t sure which kind of birds they were.   After searching a bit I discovered that they were baby robins.     I snapped some pictures, told the kids to be careful and not touch them.

Even my then 2 year old daughter Jasmine observed them carefully!

10 days later, we were back at the same campground for a night.   We wondered what the robins looked like.    So we ventured close to the play structure.  One flew out.   The others stayed in the nest.   The became “teenager” robins so quickly!.  In a matter of 10 days, they had outgrown their nest.   Impressive don’t you think?

According to the Audubon Guide on Birds app, the American Robin (scientific name Turdus migratorius) can be found in Canada during the summer and is a resident of all of the USA (well almost all…. except some areas which are probably too hot for the bird).    It belongs to the family of Trushes.   Its colors are gray on the top and some red on the chest.   The head and tail of the males are black and dull gray for the females.   Younger birds will have spots on their chest.

Their song is a series of rich caroling notes, rising and falling in pitch sort of saying “Cheer-up, cheerily, cheer-up, cheerily!”.

You can find this bird in towns, gardens, open woodlands and agricultural land.

The nest will contain 3-5 blue-green eggs in a well-made cup of mud reinforced with grass and twigs, lined with softer grasses, and placed in a tree or on a ledge or windowsill (see picture on the side).  Robins apparently have two broods a season.   The iBirdPro app also specifies that the incubation period ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

The America Robin is known in French as a “rouge-gorge” or “merle d’Amérique”.   It feeds on wild and cultivated fruits, berries, earthworms, and insects such as beetle grubs, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.

If you feel like watching a Robin’s nest online these days, check out and keep your eyes open.  You might see some baby birds soon…

This summer while traveling and camping, bring your binoculars and go explore the surrounding areas.  You never know what bird will show up for you.   And observing them in a natural habitat is the best science activity that you can do with your kids!

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  1. If you don’t mind having my reference on your poster – I don’t mind you using it.

  2. Wendy T

    I really love love love your “robin’s nest with two eggs” picture.
    I would like to make it into a poster, or ask you to make one and I will order it.
    I am painting my home office using this dark blue on one wall. (We used a broken egg my * yr old son found in the front yard to match the paint.)Then the accessories will be this color.
    Your nest image would be perfect.
    If I decorate with birds, that gets a little scary/crazy. Eggs seem safe and quiet.
    I am in the US. We have enough scary/crazy! More safe and quiet please.
    I hope all is well in your nest. 🙂 Thanks so much.