The American Robin can be found in most of the continental United States year-round and winters in Southern California, Southern Nevada, Southern Arizona, Southern New Mexico, Southern Louisiana and Florida.
While visiting family a couple of weeks ago in St. George, Utah, I heard the sound of baby birds nearby. As I looked at the large tree in my family members back yard, I quickly spotted a female American Robin sitting on the edge of her nest with three babies vying for their mother’s attention. (Please note: if you click on one of the pictures below it will open into a larger image and you will be able to see the birds better, then just select your browsers back button to continue reading).
One of my favorite memories of summer, when growing up, was watching the American Robins, from our kitchen window, play in the lawn sprinklers and searching for worms in the lawn. I also liked watching them on the lawn during a summer rain storm, listening and watching for worms and then grabbing a nearby worm and playing tug-of-war with it, as it gently eased it out of its hole below the lawn, before flying off with it dangling from its beak.
I don’t recall seeing an American Robin in Las Vegas, although they are apparently in the Las Vegas Valley.
American Robins are gray-brown birds with orange underparts, which is clearly evident in the photo below.
The baby Robins in the nest I observed were pretty large and were probably only a few days from fledging. They had developed most of their wing feathers and orange underneath feathers. Whenever their mother was at the nest, they would stand and appear above the rim of the nest, opening their mouth and vying for their mother’s attention and hopefully getting as much food as possible from their mother.
American Robins are active mostly during the day. This mother Robin flew back and forth from her nest and young about every 10-15 minutes, bringing her young new worms, grubs and other morsels of food.
After their mother would fly off in search of new food, the babies would keep their heads above the rim of the nest, for a minute or two, before settling down deeper in the nest and hopefully out of the sight of predators.
The young American Robins, below, look out for their mother to return with more food.
When the young American Robins stretched their wings in their nest, it was obvious that fledging was only a few days away. The Robins were very close to full-fledging size and exercised their wings for their soon-to-be first flight.
Each time the mother Robin left the nest to search of her young’s next meal, she would leave the nest and tree in a different direction. I was lucky to catch her leaving the nest over the top of her young and heading toward where I was taking pictures from.
The American Robin’s nest consists of coarse grass, twigs, and paper and packed with mud. Nests are generally located in trees or dense shrub. Robins lay between three and five, blue-green eggs and take about two weeks to hatch. Most of the care is provided by the female, with occasional help from the male. American Robins usually have two broods per year. We don’t know if this was the first or second brood for this American Robin. Robins will sometimes reuse existing nests or build new ones. Even if they don’t reuse this nest this year, she could next year, or the nest could be taken over by Mourning Doves, or sparrows in the future.
To learn more about American Robins visit one of the websites below:
- Wikipedia – American Robin
- National Geographic – American Robin
- TheCornellLab of Ornithology All About Birds – American Robin