American Robin (Turdus Migratorius)
Text and photo by Peter Vankevich
A member of the thrush family, this familiar bird has a dark mantle, dark orange breast, broken eye ring and yellow bill. In spring the male has a repetitive cheery singsong of clear whistles, a loud “pik! pik! pik!,” and a sound that some have compared to the whiny of a horse. Often seen on the ground in search of prey, notice how they will take several steps and suddenly stand to attention.
During fall migration they may be seen heading south by the hundreds on a single day. Especially in winter, Their diet includes earthworms, caterpillars and other insects, and berries and other fruits. Their ability to switch to berries allows them to winter much farther north than most other North American thrushes.
When to see: Possible year round; fewer in summer. Most common in fall and winter.
Where: Both Ocracoke and Portsmouth villages, phone/power wires, nature trail across from the campground.
(audio provided courtesy of OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons)
Cultural notes: It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Did you ever see a robin weep,
When leaves begin to die
That means he’s lost the will to live,
I’m so lonesome I could cry.
From I’m so Lonesome I could Cry by Hank Williams
As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robins’ eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the Midwest
From Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez. (Song is allegedly about Bob Dylan)
Robin’s egg blue is a color named after the bird’s egg shell color.