American Robins signal start of spring

Published 11:38 am Tuesday, March 15, 2016

By EMILY D. COOK / Community Columnist

The American Robin, Turdus migratorius, is a migratory bird related to the Eastern, Western and Mountain Bluebirds.

American Robins are widely distributed across North America. Often considered to be the harbingers of spring because of their early appearance at the end of winter, robins are the true early birds.

American Robins can be found across North America and make their appearance at the end of winter. (Contributed)

American Robins can be found across North America and make their appearance at the end of winter. (Contributed)

Though we see them most in spring because of their behavior of hunting earthworms on the ground, robins are often residents in their breeding grounds, hiding in trees instead of hanging out on the ground.

American Robins are approximately 8 to 11 inches in length with warm orange underparts, dark head and a gray brown back.

Long legs and a long tail set these birds apart from similar species like the Eastern Towhee and Bluebirds.

The long tail is often flicked in a downward motion when sitting on the ground.

The behavior of the robin when searching for food makes them fun to watch.

The robin will run a few steps then stop abruptly, cock their head to one side and stare at the ground.

They are in search of earthworms, however they will eat other insects and snails during the spring and summer, as well as dogwood, juniper, chokecherry and honeysuckle berries.

Have you ever heard of the paint color called robin’s egg blue? If so, it comes from the color of the American Robin’s eggs.

They are a pale blue or bluish green color. Robins have 3-5 eggs at a time, and will build nest low in a shrub (or tree).

You can find robins in habitats such as front and backyards, city parks, forests, prairies and more.

Soon, if not already, American Robins should be making their appearance in Oak Mountain and your yard. Be on the lookout for them.

You can make your yard a five-star stay for them by making sure you have water to drink, shrubs to hide in and a variety of food sources.

Please remember that you keep Alabama State Parks open by visiting them. Thank you for your support.