This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the American robin.
Both European and American robins have orange breasts and upright postures; however, they are not closely related. Local males and females look similar, though males are more colorful. These omnivorous birds eat a wide variety of foods. Want them at your feeders? Try jelly, mealworms and suet, nuts and seeds. Keen eyesight allows them to see disturbances in soil, drawing them to worms, caterpillars and snails.
Though we most often think of robins as harbingers of spring, in breeding areas, they often stay all winter. Consequently, we see them during our Christmas Bird Counts.
The nest is a deep cup that measures 3-9 inches wide and is constructed by the female. The characteristic robin’s egg blue of the eggs is caused by hemoglobin and bile pigments in the female’s blood. These pigments create the familiar blue, unmarked shell.
After hatching, both parents care for their chicks for 12-14 days until the young birds leave the nest. American robins can lay several broods, but only 25 percent of chicks survive for six months. The average lifespan is just five to six years; however, some wild robins can live as long as 12-13 years.
For information on local bird-watching events, visit www.weminucheaudubon.org and www.facebook.com/weminucheaudubon/.