Sally Blanchard's Book Sales, Tongue-in-Beak Clayworks, Color Pencil Drawings, Parrot and Bird Collectibles
Please sign the Guestbook and let me know what you think of the website and what information you find valuable!
If you want to receive the FREE Companion Parrot Online NEWSLETTER
- Please send me your name, state, and e-mail. Questions?
It takes time and money to maintain this website and new information is added on a daily basis.
Please help me to keep Companion Parrot Online going and growing.
Thank You Gift
|$15.00||$20.00||$25.00||... or purchase a publication, art work or collectible from the website. Thank you!|
|OTHER WILD BIRD STORIES
Bird Watching Stories
(Go Back to Wild Bird Page Contents)
|» No Barbeque this Summer|
|» Barn Swallow "Mama"|
|» Just How Does a Bird Eat Bees?|
|» My Birdwatching Adventures in Costa Rica|
|» Four Birds in One Tree: A Few Days of Birdwatching in England|
|» Four Calling Birds???|
|» A Very Unique Cardinal|
|» The Last Companion Carolina Paroquet|
|» The Ever-Popular Chickadee|
|» Convergent Evolution: Meadowlark and Longclaw|
|» Barrel Cactus Confrontation|
|» Mesmerizing a Goldfinch|
|» The Best Mimic?|
|» Mob Mentality: Who is Really in Control of the Skies?|
|» The Owl Who Sat Down Beside Me|
|» Meeting Hot Shot: The Toddler Peregrine Falcon|
|» Seeing 'Sea Parrots'
|» Prairie Chickens and Woodcocks
|» A Rare and Unusual Bird
Meeting Roger Tory Peterson
|» Raven Showoffs|
|» Reddish Egrets a nd Canopy Feeding|
|» Robins and Worms
Hear, See, Smell, or Feel?
|» Hospital Hallucinations|
|» Wild Bird "Attacks": Just Misunderstandings?|
|» Drunken Waxwings and an Unusual Hummingbird Feeder|
|» Aransas in the Fog:
|» Acorn Woodpecker Defending its Stash|
|» Why Woodpeckers Don't Get Headaches: Built in Shock Absorber|
|By Sally Blanchard
(Robin sculpture by Sally Blanchard)
The American robin is one of the most recognizable birds throughout the United States. People who aren't that interested in birds usually know what a robin looks like and a lot of people also know that they eat earthworms. My mother told me that at one time when I was a kid, I went around the yard with a jar and collected worms to feed the robins. Evidently I tried to get the robins to come over to me to get a worm by dangling it from my fingers. She didn't remember that I had any takers. Perhaps the birds thought that they didn't need my help and maybe even saw me as competition. I just thought that since my Budgie came to me to get a seed, then a robin would come to me to get a worm.
About 15% to 20 % of a robin's diet is earthworms. So does the Robin hear the worm, see the worm, smell the worm or feel the worm vibrations? For years, sources told us that the robin heard the worm, but in the 1960s experiments were done that showed that the robin cocks his head sideways and sees the worm or evidence of the worm being there.
Have you ever noticed how a robin seems to get quite excited after it rains? They hop around the yard, placing the side of their head to the ground in various places. Evidently after a good rain, the worms let the tips of their bodies hang out from their burrows or if the burrows becomes flooded, the worms come to the surface of the lawn. This makes it easy for the robin eye to spy the worm, stab their beak into the burrow and pull the worm out for a tasty snack. Worms also leave castings in the dirt at the mouth of their burrows and an astute robin figures out that this is evidence of a worm underneath in the dirt. While vision is the main means of worm finding, they might also hear the worm from time to time.
So does the early bird get the worm? My guess is that is true only if the bird has really good eyesight. I am curious if robins use the same eye each time they search for a worm, or do they switch eyes to find one. I am going to have to watch my neighborhood robins more closely.
Our American robin was given the name robin by English settlers who missed their little red-breasted robin. We have always been told that robins (Turdus migratorius) are a sign of Spring, but they actually live all year round throughout the United States. Perhaps the robins that we see in the winter, go farther north in the summer and the ones we see in summer have come to our area from farther south. During winter time, they do form large flocks and eat berries and whatever insect matter that they can find. (See the story about Drunken Waxwings)
Speaking of Worms
By the way, there is a bird called a Worm-eating warbler. It actually eats caterpillars and not the earthworms that robins dine on. The genus and species of the worm-eating warbler is Helmitheros vermivorus - the vermivorus part means worm eating. It is a fairly plain bird with a couple of stripes on its head and the worm-eating warbler lives in wooded areas of eastern North America and winters in Central America.