Written by Naomi Sager

Earlier this season we noticed a couple of frequent visitors: a pair of robins!

Upon spotting the robins hopping around the plots, we thought it would be interesting to learn a bit more about them.

When we think of robins, what might come to mind is that red-bellied bird munching on a worm after a rainfall, and their quintessential blue eggs.

But did you know:

Diet: In addition to worms (and other invertebrates, such as caterpillars, grubs, and beetles), a robin’s diet also largely consists of fruit and berries, and occasional seeds.

Distribution: The American Robin can be found all across North America, with their migration habits depending upon food availability and temperature. Thus, the robins in Canada typically head south to warmer climates when it begins to get colder in the fall, and then return in the spring to breed (this is known as a summer, or breeding population). Robins in warmer regions, such as in the southern states of America, or Mexico, are typically only present during the winter (known as over-wintering populations). However, robins in warmer northern climates have also been observed to not migrate at all, rather remaining close to their breeding ground all year, and becoming less active during the winter, opting to roost in trees.

Breeding: Upon returning to their breeding ground, the female robin and her mate almost immediately begin building their nest, and soon after, she lays her first egg, laying another egg approximately every 3-4 days, until there are a total of 3-4 eggs. The eggs take 12-14 days to incubate. Once hatched, both parents tend to the fledglings for about four weeks, after which point they are mostly independent. The mother and father will then repeat this process one to two more times during the season, usually building a new nest for each new brood.

Fun facts: 

-Males are more vocal, larger, and brighter than females 
-Roosts (groups gathering to rest in trees) can be very large, with congregations of up to 250 000 robins having been observed. Roosting mostly occurs during the non-breeding season
-“Teen” robins can be identified by black specks on their breast, and pale streaks on their body… by October of their second year, these characteristics are no longer visible
-Young robins have a poor survival rate: only about 25% of new robins survive until November of their first year
-The average lifespan for a robin is two years, although the oldest robin on record was 13 years old