by Alexandra Forsythe

The American Robin is often thought of as a sign of spring, but it is actually a year-round bird for Indiana. In the winter, Robins are easier to overlook because they roost in trees rather than bounce characteristically around in your yard. American Robins can gather in huge flocks in winter, sometimes with a quarter of a million birds in each flock.

During seasonable weather, American Robins can be found in lawns, grassy fields, urban environments or bushy areas throughout the state.  Their nests are some of the most commonly found nests in backyards and parks, since they are easier to spot than other birds’ nests and they are more common than other birds.

The American Robin’s favorite foods are earthworms, insects, berries, fruits and occasionally small snails.  They will eat different foods at different times of the day; they will eat more earthworms in the morning and more fruit later in the day.  You can attract them to your yard by offering fresh water in the form of a pond or bird bath and with berry-producing plants.

The American Robin is predated by Cooper’s Hawks, Sharp-Shinned Hawks, Great-Horned Owls, Shrikes, Peregrine Falcons and cats.  Since they feed on insects, they are vulnerable to pesticides.

Although the American Robin does have “Robin” in its name, it is not a member of the robin family; it is a member of the thrush family.  It was called a “robin” by homesick settlers who thought it looked a bit like the robin they have in England.


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