The Bird Corner

The American Robin

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 5:00pm

Block Island has always been a wonderful spot to go birding, not only because the island is an important stopover during migration, but due to the many species that live here.

At the Block Island School, we are following the tradition started by Elizabeth Dickens, who began the bird program at the School in the early 1900s. We are grateful to Kim Gaffett for continuing it.

Each year, Mrs. Szabo includes a bird unit in her fourth grade class, and asks her students to choose a bird they think will best make the “Block Island Bird of the Year.” Through nature walks, bird banding with Miss Gaffett, and research, each student chose a bird they believe best represents Block Island.

This is the sixth in a series.

The American robin combines cute, beautiful, and simple into one complete package. They stand out from other birds because of their beautiful song. The American Robin would be a wonderful bird to represent Block Island because of its traits and beauty. 

The American Robin is about nine to 11 inches long, and they have a wingspan of 12 to 16 centimeters wide. They weigh about 77 to 85 grams. Their colors are grayish brown with a beautiful, long red breast. They love singing, mostly in the morning. They are very alert and aware of their surroundings. They mainly hang out in trees, as well as live in birdbaths, farmland, lawns, shrubs, and probably your backyard. American Robins have a very simple diet of fruit, berries and worms, which is what the young mainly eat. They forage for worms by hopping around the ground and searching through leaves. After finding a worm they will eat it to bring back to their nest and regurgitate for their young. American Robins build their nests out of leaves, twigs, and mud. They often build them in trees or on porches. You can find a robin’s nest almost anywhere , as well as one themselves. Just while writing this report, I was able to observe a robin lay eggs, incubate, and teach her babies how to fly, all in my own backyard! They are very territorial over their nests.

American Robins are very common here on Block Island. Their eggs are blue and small, and about an inch big. The American Robin lays about three or four eggs a year and about 45 percent of the time all of them hatch but 55 percent of the time only two or three hatch. Young American Robins hop out of the nest when they are about 13 days old, and they learn to fly when they are 14 to 15 days old. Did you know that male American Robins find blue eggs attractive? It’s true...the bluer the egg, the more attention they get. You can find American robins in North America, southern Canada, central Mexico, and along the Pacific Coast. They are the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin, showing they make a great representation for communities like Block Island.

As you can see, the American Robin is an amazing bird with a very unique lifestyle just like we have here. I hope you can see why this bird should represent Block Island.