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Our Backyard Birds: The American Robin

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An American Robin (Turdus migratorius) on a limb
American Robin

Our Backyard Birds:

The American Robin

(Turdus migratorius)



Robins typically consume insects, worms, and various types of fruits. They have a particular fondness for berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, winterberries, strawberries, juniper, holly, and honeysuckle, as well as mealworms and insect larvae. To attract them to your backyard feeders. You can also supply apples, oranges, grapes, and cherries to supplement their diet. They usually forage for their food on the ground, in open areas. To ensure their happiness, scatter the mealworms, berries, or chopped fruit around the base of your bird feeders. Additionally, always keep water available for them as they enjoy drinking and bathing often.


In my experience, the most effective way to feed these lovely birds is by using a tray or platform feeder positioned on or near the ground. You can fill the feeder with an assortment of berries, fruits, and mealworms. Or you can scatter the food under your existing bird feeders.


Distinguishing male and female robins can sometimes be challenging. However, male robins are easier to identify than females. They have a black head, gray wings and back, and rust-colored feathers on their chest, with white outlines around their eyes. Additionally, their bills are yellow. On the other hand, female robins have similar features to males, but their colors are less bright and often blend, making identification difficult. Another way to find male robins is by their singing. Only male robins sing their "cheerily, cheer up" song, which can be heard usually during early mornings before and after sunrise, as well as at dusk or before rainfall.


The American Robin is a common bird in North America, but there's a lot you might not know about this thrush (Yep, it's a thrush.). Its habitat ranges from forests, fields, parks, and backyards across North America, including Mexico, Canada, and Alaska. Additionally, it is the official bird of three states: Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Despite its familiar cheer up, cheer up, cheerily caroling, here are some lesser-known facts about this iconic American songbird.

The early colonial settlers named the American Robin for its resemblance to the unrelated but familiar European Robin, which is smaller but also sports an orange breast and upright posture. Today, the American Robin exists in the form of seven subspecies, with subtle differences in their body size and plumage. One subspecies in southern Baja California sports pale gray-brown underparts instead of rusty tones.

Portrait of an American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Portrait of a Robin

Robins that migrate cover a lot of ground: Records show that some birds have traveled up to 3,000 miles, from Iowa to Alaska, during their spring migration.

Like most other migratory birds, robins don't maintain pair bonds and often take on new mates each spring. At the breeding grounds, male robins put on strutting courtship displays for females. At dawn, they belt their melodic tunes, shake their wings, fluff their tail feathers, and puff their white-striped throats to entice lady robins.

A male American Robin (Turdus migratorius) in winter
Winter Robin

American robins are widespread but vulnerable to climate change and other factors such as pesticide poisoning and predation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the American Robin and how you can attract them to your backyard. If this is your first time visiting my website or reading one of my blog posts, welcome, and thank you for joining us. Please subscribe here so you can receive updates on the next blog posts on Backyard Birding. You will also receive occasional discounts and newsletters. Remember to follow the Nature First and Leave No Trace principles and always strive to leave places better than you found them. Please share this blog post with your friends and family who have a love for birds, bird photography, or backyard birding.


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Brenda Kay Edwards
Brenda Kay Edwards
Nov 12, 2023

I have seen small flocks of robins in hackberry trees eating berries also.

David Cutts
David Cutts
Nov 14, 2023
Replying to

That's awesome Brenda. They do like their berries!


Trish Tomes
Trish Tomes
Nov 11, 2023

Loved the article but want to add that whooping cranes are migratory and are loyal to their mates each year.

David Cutts
David Cutts
Nov 14, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, Trish.

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