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Brooklyn Bird Watch: July 30

American Robin Scientific name: Turdus migratorius

July 30, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Last week Brooklyn Bird Watch featured several excellent Heather Wolf photos of juvenile birds from different species.  This week we continue with another juvenile, this one is the American Robin that Wolf photographed in Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Juvenile birds are not easy to photograph because, first of all, one just doesn’t see them that often in the wild, and that’s also probably because, with the assistance of their parents they are fed and carefully hidden from predators.

Most people learn from an early age that Robin’s are considered the classic “early bird” and the sight of an adult robin has come to symbolize the beginning of spring. They are common sights on lawns across North America, usually looking for earthworms. Also, as the Cornell Lab points out, many American Robins in fact spend all winter in their breeding range roosting in trees, so they can be nearby year round but you just don’t see them until spring. 

Robins are also famous for having bright blue eggs.

The original U.S. settlers named the American Robin after the European Robin.  Even though the birds share the same name and are similar in appearance, scientifically they are not related. The European Robin, known in Ireland and Great Britain as the “red breast”, is a member of the old world “flycatchers” family, and is a more solitary bird than the American Robin. 

As the “Birds & Bloom” website notes: Often juvenile birds do not look like their parents, for example, the juvenile American Robin has a dark-spotted chest during its first summer, instead of the reddish orange. Baby robins eventually lose those spots as they grow up. One can see in Ms Wolf’s photograph this juvenile robin is about to lose its spots; you can see the orange shades beginning to take over.  

Even though the American Robin is very common and widespread across North America, nevertheless, this popular songbird still faces potential problems. Since it does most of its foraging in yards it is vulnerable to the overuse of outdoor lawn chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers. And during the fall and winter months, Robins will eat a lot of fruit and berries, and when they eat honeysuckle berries exclusively, they can become intoxicated.  

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