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This Week’s Creature Feature: Do Robins Migrate?

Here’s the solution to the mystery
     European settlers frequently named North American animals for similar animals back home. The American robin was thus named because it resembles the English robin. The English robin is a small insect eater of the chat family, while the American robin is larger and a type of thrush.
     Our local robin eats primarily insects and worms but also loves fruit. They eat my strawberries and raspberries after spending much of the morning flipping leaves looking for worms. Their hearing is excellent. They pause while flipping leaves to listen for worms pushing through the soil. They prefer digging up their own worms and avoid ones that wash up on the sidewalk. This preference probably helps them avoid poisoned insects.
     American robins are quite tolerant of humans and frequently nest near homes. Their nests are delicately woven and hold beautiful blue eggs. After the eggs hatch, both parents take part in feeding and nurturing their nestlings. By the end of the summer, the birds are ready to travel with their parents south.
     Robins migrate in large flocks, usually within the U.S. In Florida, robins are not common in the summer but many invade en masse in January.
     (On a side note, Brazilian pepper­trees, an invasive species in Florida, have lots of winter fruit with a trace of alcohol. Flocks of robins get inebriated eating the fruit. I have seen them stumbling around and unable to fly straight. They can get hurt while under the influence. The pepper trees are beginning to be controlled, so there may be fewer intoxicated Florida fliers.)
     Not all robins migrate south. Those that stay behind are not usually attracted to feeders but will eat suet and occasionally dried mealworms. Planting junipers, holly and winterberry helps feed them. They also love birdbaths. Putting out warm water in the winter will help keep them happy.