Spring Robins (by the hundred)

Posted on March 27th, 2009 by

Right now is peak time for visitors to the Linnaeus Arboretum. Winged visitors, that is.  For the past few days there have been several hundred, maybe even over a thousand, American Robins flying around the Interpretive Center and feeding on the leftover crabapples and cranberries. Some of these days are just downright noisy with all the chirping, whistling, squeaking, and warbling that these cheery birds issue forth.

The end of March seems to be peak migration for robins in southern Minnesota. Their hormones are surging as the birds practice territorial songs en route to breeding locations further north. While they’re busy feeding, flitting, and chasing the opposite sex, it is quite possible to approach these birds rather closely, which is how I got this photo today:


Apparent from the relatively dark jet-black coloration of the head and the bold red-orange breast, this bird is a male. Females appear duller overall, with lighter gray-brown upperparts and muted orange underparts.

As the temperature increases and the days get even longer, most of these birds will continue their journey north. Some, however, will decide to stay and nest, having found a suitable site to raise a family among the boughs of a spruce, underneath overhanging rooftops, or in your flower pot.


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