Thursday, June 10, 2010

Today's Trivia - Robins

We had a robin family living near the roof of our home up until recently. And that robin family consisted of Mr. & Mrs. Robin and their three babies. Well, those little babies grew like weeds and within a remarkably short period of time they went from newly-hatched to fully grown. They flew the coop about 2 or 3 weeks ago, together with mom, and the only member of the family that is still around is Mr. Robin who follows me around whenever I’m working in the garden.

I’ve grown particularly fond of this little fellow that often stands no more than 3 or 4 feet away from me, watching me as I work; that’s how comfortable he is around me. Maybe he likes that I toss him the grubs I find. Maybe he likes how I’m always digging up areas for him to hunt in. Maybe he likes that I speak to him as we’re working side by side (I tend to my plants; he searches for worms), saying things like: “Hey, Mr. Robin, how’s it going?”; “How are the kids?”; “How’s the hunting going today?”; “Any news from Mrs. Robin?”

Or maybe he’s become exceptionally comfortable around me because he sees me almost daily and I’ve never given him reason to fear me. Whatever the reasons for the amount of trust he has in me, I’ve gotten used to having him close by, and I thoroughly enjoy it. In fact, one day when I didn’t see him for a couple of hours while in the garden, I began to worry about him; I imagined all these horrible things that may have happened to him. And this caused me a tremendous (if not ridiculous) amount of anxiety. It amazed me just how attached we can become to these sweet little creatures.

Anyhow, this Thursday’s trivia is dedicated to Mr. Robin and all the other robins out there that may be following a gardener around the way my own feathery dude follows me.

All About American Robins

- The American robin is a member of the thrush (means wanderer) family.

- The robin is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin.

- A robin's flight speed has been timed at 32 to 58 kilometers (20-36 miles) per hour.

- Typically, robins live about 5 to 6 years, but they can live up to 14, sometimes longer. Banded birds have been reported to be as old as 17.

- Males migrate to their summer homes before the females and only start singing when the ladies arrive in April (love is in the air!).

- The male robin is usually brighter in colour than a female.

- The head of a male robin is black; the female has a grayish/brownish head.

- The male and female are about the same size.

- Male robins sing in the early morning and late afternoon.

- Robins eat worms, insects and berries.

- Female robins build nests out of grass and small twigs that are held together with mud.

- The nest, which is bowl-shaped, is 6 inches across, a few inches deep and 5 to 25 feet above the ground.

- The robin egg is roughly the size of a quarter.

- A female will lay 2 to 4 eggs and they'll take 11 to 14 days to hatch.

- The colour of the eggs is light blue, commonly-known as 'robin egg blue'.

- Nestlings open their eyes when they are about five days old.

- Adult robins feed their young every few minutes, all day long; they start before sunrise and don't stop until late evening.

- The male and female take turns hunting for food for their young.

- It takes nestlings two weeks or so to develop feathers necessary to leave the nest.

- Baby robins can't fly for the first couple of days that they're out of the nest.

- Robin parents feed the fledglings until they've learned to feed themselves.

- When the baby robins become fully independent, the parents will nest again.

- Robins nest two to three times a season.

- They migrate to warmer climates for the winter; they head south of Canada from Florida and the Gulf Coast to central Mexico, as well as along the Pacific Coast.

- Migration to the south begins by the end of August.

That’s it for today’s trivia, which was dedicated to my favourite backyard pal, Mr. Robin.


  1. So cute! I can just picture you out there talking to Mr. Robin. I love it!

  2. What a great story about your friend, Mr. Robin, Martha! I wish I had a robin friend to talk to while I'm gardening. I do have a slightly demented mockingbird that sings day and night. :-)

    Such interesting robin facts, too. I never knew that "thrush" meant "wanderer."

  3. Liza, he's so adorable. He's made my gardening experience that much more wonderful!

    Beth, I adore this little creature. He's quite a character. If he lives for many years, I may have him in my backyard year after year. I'm not sure if robins return to the same areas; it would be nice if they do.