Saturday, 2 February 2013

American Robin

order : Passeriformes      Genus & Species : Turdidae     Family : Turdus migratorius

The American robin heralds spring with its early arrival from its wintering grounds, and announces daybreak with its persistent, wellknown song. The American robin is a bird of vibrant colors — from its rich, red breast to its brilliant “robin’s-egg blue” eggs. They found throughout North America; from Alaska through Canada and the U.S. to southern Mexico and Guatemala. 

Habitat : The American robin prefers the deep forest, but it has spread across North America, taking up residence in a variety of habitats. The robin has flourished in areas as varied as sparsely wooded land in the east to mountains 12,000' above sea level in the western U.S. It has adapted to open regions and modern, suburban areas as well, and is often spotted in pastures, orchards, backyards and city parks. While trees offer the ideal perching site, a suburban fence, gutter or fire escape will work just as well for this adaptable bird. Most robins migrate to the south to escape the harsh, cold winters of the north, but those that stay frequent forests with an abundance of berries. 
Food & Feeding : The American robin changes its diet throughout the year to reap the rewards of seasonally available foods. During the warm spring and summer months, the robin surveys backyard lawns, meadows and even golf courses to search for its favorite food — earthworms. The robin peers carefully across the ground for the worm’s tunnels, then pokes in its beak to search for food.The robin also munches on a variety of insects, from ants and beetles to termites and weevils. Even quick-hopping grasshoppers and fluttering butterflies aren’t safe from the American robin. In the fall, the robin feasts on carbohydrate-rich fruits, which help it fatten up in preparation for a harsh winter or long migration.Those birds that do overwinter in northern regions exist on the berries and seeds that remain uncovered by snow. Pieces of oranges and apples, raisins and bread provide tasty treats at bird feeders. Old apple orchards provide retreats from the cold. 
Behavior : The robin starts its trek north in February when the days reach an average temperature of 37˚F. Its migratory patterns are not clearcut; even its scientific name, from the Latin “migrator,” means wanderer. Large flocks of males arrive in northern states in March. As they begin to form territories, they are much less tolerant of the other males. In an “attack run,” an aggressive male often bends to a horizontal position with its tail raised and then charges toward another male. A less-aggressive robin may push another male, or take short runs toward it, forcing it to retreat. When flocks of females show up in April, each mature male has established an individual territory about an acre in size, which becomes smaller in preparation for nesting, about a third of an acre. From high perches, the males serenade the females. The loud, familiar cheerily-cheery-cheerily-cheery sounds serve as a morning wake-up call and evening lullaby. But it also advertises the boundaries of their territory. Often aggressive even outside its territory when foraging, the robin occasionally confronts its own reflection, in either a window or hubcap. 
Breeding : Though the robin arrives early at its nesting grounds, it wastes no time with elaborate courtship displays. Attempting 2–3 broods each season, the male establishes a territory and the female quickly begins a nest after pairing off. For the first brood, the nest is in an evergreen tree.The female forms the mud-lined nest of grasses and rootlets by sitting and pressing her breast against the edges. She lays 4–5 eggs, which are a medium sky-blue color, and incubates them for 14 days. After hatching, the young stay in the nest for about 13 days. The male feeds the fledglings while the female builds a second nest in a maple, elm or other deciduous tree. 

Eyes : Both sexes have a unique “spectacle” of white feathers that frames the eyes, almost like glasses. 
Plumage : The American robin has brick-red feathers on its breast, hence its common nickname, redbreast. The female’s plumage is similar to the male’s, but slightly duller.The male has a darker head and breast. 
Feet : The “booted” tarsus, or heel, appears smooth, since it has no scales.The toe arrangement is perfect for perching, but also allows the robin to move quickly in territorial “attack runs.” 

Weight : 2.5–3.5 oz.
Length : 9-11"
Sexual Maturity : 1 year
Breeding Season : April–August 

Birds have a higher and more variable temperature than mammals. The robin’s average body temperature is 104°F and may fluctuate over 20°F in 24 hours.

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