Bird Lady Blog

May 19, 2012

Spring and the American Robin

Filed under: Migration,Robin Goldfinch Bluebird Chickadee — Munds Park Birding @ 1:11 pm
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Just as we are returning to Munds Park en masse, so are the birds, and “they’re here” with just as much as enthusiasm as we have, whether we are full-time Munds Park residents or summer happy-campers.  What was the first bird I saw after walking onto our deck on Friday, May 4th?  The American Robin, eye-level to me from our second-story deck and easily spotted in a tree that had yet to produce a full set of the season’s new leaves.

The American Robin is a very popular bird in the U.S., found in 49 of our 50 states.  It is a worm and grub-eating bird that you will see on front lawns, golf courses, and grassy areas in parks, and in general is found in woodlands as well as open farm areas and urban areas.  It is one of the first birds to breed in the spring and one of the first birds to sing at the break of dawn.  “The early bird catches the worm” does indeed seem to describe the American Robin, although my research shows that this saying was first recorded back in the 1600’s in a collection of English Proverbs.  The American Robin is a stately, upright bird with a red breast, gray-brown upper parts, and white lower-belly and undertail.  Do you know what three States have named the American Robin their official state bird?  The answer is Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

I spent most of the first weekend in May stocking the kitchen and freezer and golfing, but I did manage to see while on the Pinewood Country Club golf course quite a number of birds.  Here they are in alphabetic order:  American Coot, American Crow, American Raven, American Robin, Band-Tailed Pigeon, Barn Swallow, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Black Phoebe, Canada Goose, Common Grackle, Great Blue Heron, Great-tailed Grackle, Lesser Goldfinch, Mallard, Mountain Chickadee, Osprey, Red Shafted Flicker, Red-Winged Blackbird, Say’s Phoebe, and Violet Green Swallow.

I did see House Finches building nests at the top of the roof overhang at Petsmart in Flagstaff, and I heard them singing in Munds Park.  Lu and Don Cross took a great photo of a House Finch at their deck feeder near Lake Odell and submitted it to The Arizona Republic.  Their photo of the male House Finch and a reference to the bird in Munds Park was printed in the newspaper last month.  This year they also put up a nest box in the hopes of attracting either Western Bluebirds or Tree Swallows.  We will keep you posted if they are successful in getting a nesting pair on their property.

By the time you read this I will have come and gone to Wisconsin to the Horicon Marsh Bird Festival over Mother’s Day weekend.  This will have been the first time I had gone to a formal birding festival, and we had signed up for two guided tours and also to attend some workshops.  I will report what new birds I’ve seen and which ones we also see here in Munds Park in the next article.

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2 Comments »

  1. Hello Margaret, enjoying your blog and I have a question. I am visiting a friend in Mund’s Park who has ravens nesting in the pines in his yard. It appears that the usual robust migrant populations have diminished considerably. Would you expect that the presense of the ravens has contributed to this situation?

    Comment by cindy meador — May 23, 2012 @ 10:17 am | Reply

    • Hi, Cindy: This early in the year birds are either nesting and not as visible or already have migrated through. I do not think the presense of ravens would affect the local bird population. How fun to be able to watch the ravens coming and going to their nest! Would be great if you could get a good photo and we could use it in the paper or on this blog.

      Comment by Munds Park Birding — May 23, 2012 @ 9:57 pm | Reply


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