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An Abundance of American Robins

What luck! During one of our prolific winter rainstorms, I happened to glance up to the bare oaks waving their weather-worn limbs above and was surprised by more than 100 American robins calling and flitting to and fro from one oak branch to another! A half-hour later and I would have missed this now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t magic act. Nature is always full of her high jinks and surprises. She is constantly parading her stories of predator and prey, her succession of seasons full of fecundity, fruition or loss. Her ubiquitous bounty of narratives, large and small are offered to us whether or not we choose to notice. Daily dramas unfold in the form of the innumerable avian species that we are blessed to witness here in Lake County.

The American robin (Turdus migrtorius) is a type of thrush whose family includes bluebirds. The American robin is an often-seen but still beautiful sight to behold. In fact, it is so beloved, that three states call the American robin its official bird: Wisconsin, Connecticut and Michigan. Robins wear feathers of reddish-orange on their breast and have grey-brown coloration covering their heads and backs. When the rains release earthworms and other delicacies robins seem to know just where to ‘shop’. Then they can be seen plucking worms and hitting the red berries of the native, perennial toyon bush.

Birds such as robins are great at distributing seeds of these shrubs for new growth when they consume, then excrete seeds from the berries. Along with the aforementioned, robins dine on grubs, fruit and insects. American robins, 9-11 inches in length, hold wingspans of nearly a foot. This bird species thrives in woodlands, forests and shrubby landscapes. Their distinctive stance, upright and proud-looking helps to further identify the little beauties. American robins breed throughout North America, north, up into Alaska and south to Mexico.

Ornithologists have determined that the songs of this species holds numerous calls, some of which are quite complex. Through their vocalizations, they are telling one another about possible predators such as housecats, snakes and hawks. They have specific calls to communicate when defending their nests as well as their dawn songs, as they pour their hearts out to the world upon arising.

According to the national Audubon Society, not all American robins migrate. Lots of northern populations migrate south for the winter to scout out food sources, many remain when they find an abundance of berries, worms or insects, then roost for a good night’s sleep in trees.

Among nature’s fascinating wonders we can include American robins. Be sure to put yourself on pause next time to see these admirable creatures, and admire their distinctive colorations and movements as they robin-dance across Lake County’s landscape.

Since there’s lots to know about the many birds of Lake County, our local Audubon chapter, Redbud Audubon is a great place to learn about birding and conservation through their website, Facebook page and free monthly programs and field trips.

To enjoy the songs of the American robin, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website
Kathleen Scavone

Kathleen Scavone, MA., is a retired educator who has resided in beautiful Lake County for over 45 years. She freelances fiction, poetry, nature writing, curriculum ideas, and local history. She writes for The Press Democrat, Napa Valley Register, News From Native California, Green Prints, etc. She has published three books, a play and a poetry chapbook. The second edition of her locally set historical novella, People of the Water- a novella of the events leading to the Bloody Island Massacre of 1850 is available in local museums and stores, as well as on Amazon.com and IngramSpark in both paperback and e-book formats. She has written Anderson Marsh State Historic Park- A Walking History, Prehistory, Flora and Fauna tour of a California State Park, and Native Americans of Lake County. Kathleen is a photographer and potter. Her other interests include hiking, assisting on archaeology digs, travel, gardening and reading.

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