Wondrous Wildlife
By Vern and Lori Gieger
Rockin’ Robin

     Songbirds are recog­nized for their beautiful songs and speaking of beautiful songs, we’d like to thank Cindy Paul and Carol Bedford for their support, “At the Zoo” benefit for us, Lakeside Wildlife Rescue & Rehab.
     The American Robin, one of our many feathered friends, possess one of the most well-known and beloved songs of all songbirds. Their red breast makes them instantly recognizable to us. A migratory bird, it can be found in many diverse places from Alaska to Mexico.The widespread American robin is one of the most familiar birds, many people eagerly await its arrival in the spring; the Robin is considered a symbol of spring.
     Robins are not particularly common in rural natural habitats, such as grasslands and forests, but are abundant in suburban areas near human dwellings, mainly during the nesting season. Frequently seen running across lawns, gobbling up earthworms, their running and stopping behavior is a distinguishing characteristic. They hunt visually, not by hearing. Their talent to capture earthworms, an abundant food resource found in the ubiquitous suburban lawns, may account for their apparent fondness for humans or rather our short, manicured lawns in which they can easily forage on earthworms, a favorite food.
     While in search of the ever-favorite worm, the robin displays an almost comical dance of a very erect walk, then with an odd angle, turns its head towards the ground as if listening for the slightest sound from its unknowing prey. They make short dashes across the turf and briefly wait. If they see a worm, they quickly pounce upon it. If not, they dash off to another promising spot and optimistically search the great green expanse. Although the robin’s diet consists mainly of worms they are known to visit cultivated patches now and again. Where, they do eat common insects such as, grubs, caterpillars, and grasshoppers, and a few varieties of seeds and wild fruits. 
     A bountiful worm harvest in lawns provides not just a sumptuous feast for the adult robins, but necessary protein for their nestlings. Parents care for their young, typically until they are able to fly on their own, usually within two weeks. Robins, unlike most migratory birds, will nest several times during spring and summer, where and when there is lots of wriggling food.
     However life in suburbia is not without its costs. Scientists have been studying suburban birds and found several hidden perils. Many robins have succumbed to lead poisoning, viral infections, such as the dreaded West Nile Virus and the many other hazards of suburban life, such as predatory cats, flying into windows, and so forth, but, the robin populations as a whole have remained stable. The ability of the robin to adapt its lifestyle to match ours has allowed it to thrive, whereas many other migratory bird populations have declined.
     The robin’s nest is made of compacted mud, sturdy enough to withstand winds and rains; the floor and sides are lined with grasses, all meticulously chosen. Robins prefer higher locations that tend to be a bit more secure from predators. 
     Note: Once again it is the dry season, be responsible and don’t start fires, they can quickly get out of hand. Not only do they destroy much needed habitat, but also kills many baby birds as well as other babies who can not escape the smoke and/or flames.