Michigan’s State Bird: The American Robin

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1IMG_6158, photo by ShannenOMalley

“WHEREAS, A widely and generally conducted contest to choose a State bird, carried on by the Michigan Audubon Society, resulted in nearly 200,000 votes being cast, of which Robin Red Breast received many more votes than any other bird as the most popular bird in Michigan; and WHEREAS, The robin is the best known and best loved of all the birds in the State of Michigan; therefore BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (THE SENATE CONCURRING), That the robin be and the same is hereby designated and adopted as the official State bird of the State of Michigan.”
~Michigan House & Concurrent Resolution, April 8, 1931

A sign of spring in Michigan is the sighting of your first robin. Like daffodils, they’ve showed up early this year. American Robin (Turdus migratorius) at All About Birds has some great facts and photos about our state bird:

The quintessential early bird, American Robins are common sights on lawns across North America, where you often see them tugging earthworms out of the ground. Robins are popular birds for their warm orange breast, cheery song, and early appearance at the end of winter…

  • An American Robin can produce three successful broods in one year. On average, though, only 40 percent of nests successfully produce young. Only 25 percent of those fledged young survive to November. From that point on, about half of the robins alive in any year will make it to the next. Despite the fact that a lucky robin can live to be 14 years old, the entire population turns over on average every six years.
  • Although robins are considered harbingers of spring, many American Robins spend the whole winter in their breeding range. But because they spend more time roosting in trees and less time in your yard, you’re much less likely to see them. The number of robins present in the northern parts of the range varies each year with the local conditions.
  • Robins eat a lot of fruit in fall and winter. When they eat honeysuckle berries exclusively, they sometimes become intoxicated.
  • Robin roosts can be huge, sometimes including a quarter-million birds during winter. In summer, females sleep at their nests and males gather at roosts. As young robins become independent, they join the males. Female adults go to the roosts only after they have finished nesting.
  • Robins eat different types of food depending on the time of day: more earthworms in the morning and more fruit later in the day. Because the robin forages largely on lawns, it is vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution.
  • The oldest recorded American Robin was 13 years and 11 months old.

Read on for more including the various songs of the robin and some video. More photos and info from Turdus migratorius (American robin) at UM Animal Diversity Web and at American Robin on Wikipedia. Also don’t miss A blue like no other: Robin’s Egg Blue on Michigan in Pictures.

Check this photo out on black and in Shannen’s slideshow.

3 thoughts on “Michigan’s State Bird: The American Robin

  1. Love the Robin, but my vote for State Bird would have been the Chickadee. They don’t go South for the winter and are the first to find new feeders. Mine fearlessly eat while I am right next to the feeder.

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  2. Reblogged this on The Three R's Blog and commented:
    Today marks the official start of Spring, and for us here in Michigan that means our state bird, the robin, makes its appearance again. And while normally they would just start showing up, with the warm weather they have been around for over a month already. Enjoy this nice post from a week ago from the “Michigan in Pictures” blog. It contains lots of interesting information on the robin!

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