Summary: American robins may become nuisances to people by tapping on reflective surfaces, such as windowpanes and mirrors. They may also wake people up very early in the morning because that is their favorite time to sing.
Wisconsin's claims the American robin as its state bird, but this bird can be found all over North America. The American robin is a songbird with a high-pitched, upbeat tune. The robin sings when it is hungry or to warn other robins against predators. It especially enjoys singing early in the morning, and is usually the first bird to do so at dawn. So, while you may be annoyed by a bird waking you, to other birds, it certainly is a Rockin' Robin.
The American robin is quite a large bird measuring between 8 and 11 inches in height, and having a wingspan of 12 to 16 inches. The main physical difference between a male and female American robin is that the female usually has feathers that are paler in color. Both males and females have white moon-shaped patches surrounding their eyes. They have brown feathers and red or orange feathers on their breast. They have white feathers on their throat and near their tail, as well as a yellow bill.
Female robins guard the nest, while male robins assemble in roosts. There can be hundreds of thousands of robins in a single roost alone. That is one big party! Females join the males when they are done nesting.
American robins typically breed from April through July. The females make nests out of mud, twigs, grass, and feathers. American robins usually lay eggs two or three times each year, with about three to five eggs per brood. A new nest is built for each brood. Only about 40 percent of nests produce healthy young robins.
The eggs of a robin are about an inch in length and are blue. (This is where Crayola got the idea for the crayon called Robin's Egg Blue!) As with many other types of birds, there are albino robins. Partial albino robins can have pure white feathers and normal eye coloration. True albino robins, however, lack pigmentation in their eyes. This causes them to be blind at a very early age.
American robins like to eat fruit, berries, caterpillars, earthworms, beetle grubs, grasshoppers, and even small snakes. Their appetites change depending on the time of day. These robins each have an esophagus that widens in order for them to store food. The males and females both try to gather as much food as possible for their young chicks. They can feed the chicks up to one hundred times per day. And, humans complain when they have to get up once in the middle of the night to feed a new baby.
The average lifespan of an American robin is about six years. One robin was known to live for fourteen years, but this lifespan is extremely rare.
American robins like to fly around gardens, yards, and forest areas. You might see robins flying around your yard, searching for food, and returning home to their nests deep inside your trees or shrubs.
Now that you have some background on the American robin, you may be wondering why such an intricate bird could be a pest to you and your family. Well, the robin could eat any plants that you may be growing. Also, it could cause damage to your windshields, windowpanes, mirrors, and other reflective surfaces by pecking at them. They often build their nests in places you would prefer to remain nest-free.
If you discover a robin's nest on your property, a good suggestion is to leave it alone. If you move it, the mother robin may not return to the nest, not due to human handling, but because she does not associate the nest with the new surroundings.
There is a good chance that not all of the eggs in the nest will develop into young robins. If this is the case, the adult robins will dispose of the bad eggs after the others have hatched. So, if you physically move or touch the nest, the adult robins will not return and some of the eggs will go rotten. I guarantee you do not want that smell lingering in your backyard.
The good news is that the female robin only takes two weeks to incubate the eggs, and the young robins only take an additional two weeks to mature. They will then leave the nest, and the female robin will either build a new one or fly south for the winter. You can dispose of the nest as soon as the robins leave it. However, if you notice that the female robin begins to build a new nest, you should move it or knock it down before she hatches her eggs. Otherwise, you will have to repeat the cycle again.
Unfortunately, you are going to have to become a morning person for about a month because the robins will be singing bright and early to wake you up.