Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
April  2017                                                                                              Volume 4.17
Nature News

High Desert Bird of the Month
American Robin
 
 
 
Common Name: American Robin
Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
 
How to identify:  
American Robins are fairly large songbirds with a round body, long legs, and tail.  Male robins have a dark gray to almost black back and tail with a brick colored breast. The female is paler all over. Juvenile robins have a spotted breast.
 
Habitat:
American Robins are common across the continent in gardens, parks, yards, golf courses, fields, pastures, tundra, as well as deciduous woodlands, pine forests, shrub lands, and forests regenerating after fires or logging.
 
Where to find one:
Though they're familiar town and city birds, American Robins are at home in wilder areas, too, including mountain forests and the Alaskan wilderness.
 
How to attract one to your yard:
Robins can be attracted to a feeding station by offering mealworms, fruit and a birdbath. It's especially fun to offer mealworms during nesting season when the robins can stop and pick up a mouthful of tasty worms to take back to their babies. They will fill their mouth until you think nothing else could possibly fit inside.
 
Interesting fact:  
Robins don't find earthworms by hearing or smelling them. Robins find earthworms by cocking their head to one side, independently using each eye to look for visible signs of worms.
 
 
For more information on American Robins, visit one of the three Moana Nursery store locations:  1100 W. Moana Ln. & 11301 S. Virginia St., Reno and 7644 Pyramid Hwy., Sparks. 

Carmel Ruiz-Hilton is Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops at Moana Nursery in Reno/Sparks


Fun Facts About the American Robin

- The American Robin is a member of the thrush family, which also includes bluebirds, solitaires and the wood thrushes.

- The American Robin was named by early colonists for the European Robin they left behind. The two are only distantly related, but both have red breasts.

- The American Robin can be found throughout North America at some time during the year. Male robins have a dark gray to almost black back and tail with a rust/brick colored breast. The female is paler all over. The juvenile robins have a spotted breast. 

- American Robins living in the western states tend to be paler in color and often lack the white markings on the outer corners of their tail.

- While the majority of American Robins migrate to the south each fall, a small number of stragglers usually remain behind and endure the winter. The majority of over-wintering robins are males trying to ensure they have first choice of nesting territories in the spring. Females migrate to areas where food is more abundant to help ensure they are in top condition for the rigors of raising young in the spring.

- Male robins that migrate usually arrive on the breeding grounds up to two weeks before the females return.

- American Robins migrate in flocks primarily during the daylight hours.

- Robins are attracted to open lawns and gardens with mature shrubbery and trees. While they eat a variety of insects and berries, it has been noted that robins can eat up to 14' of earthworms in a day! 

- Worms only make up about 15%-20% of the summer diet for American Robins.

- Contrary to popular belief, American Robins don't find earthworms by hearing or smelling them. Robins find earthworms by cocking their head to one side, independently using each eye to look for visible signs of worms. 

- You will likely find robins in your yard after a rain or after the sprinkler has been on or even after the lawn has been mowed, as this brings worms and insects to the surface. 

- Most of the earthworms found in North America today did not exist prior to European settlement. They were imported mainly from Europe by early settlers. The worms or worm cocoons traveled in the rootstocks of plants brought by the settlers from their homelands. They were also released into the new world through soil that was used for ship ballast that was discarded after the voyage to the new world.

- Robins can be attracted to a feeding station by offering mealworms, fruit and a birdbath. It's especially fun to offer mealworms during nesting season when the robins can stop and pick up a mouthful of tasty worms to take back to their babies. They will fill their mouth until you think nothing else could possibly fit inside and still continue to try to pick up more, dropping some in the process and then trying to pick those back up. It can be very entertaining!

- Robins change their feeding habits depending on the time of day as they will eat more earthworms early in the day, when they are easier to find, and then switch to fruit later in the day.

- Only the male American Robin sings, but both sexes have calls and alarm notes. You typically hear the robin first thing in the spring in the morning and last thing before dark.

- On average, over 50% of all nesting attempts by American Robins fail to produce young. Out of the successful nesting attempts, only ¼ of the fledglings will survive until November.

- Unlike most birds, robins do not lay their eggs at sunrise. They lay their eggs several hours later during the mid-morning. Since earthworms are easier to find in the early morning, they feed first thing in the morning and then return to their nest to lay their egg.

- Robins typically nest from April through July and can have 2-3 broods in a season. The female does the nest building and incubates the eggs alone. Upon hatching, both parents feed the average brood of four young.

- The American Robin will use mud in its nest to give it strength.

- You can put out a small pan of mud and nesting materials (short strings, yarn, dry grasses) and watch the robins come collect materials to make their nests. 

- Robins usually return to the same area to nest each year and may occasionally use last year's nest again after some renovation.

- Robins are particularly vulnerable to pesticide poisoning due to their preference for foraging on lawns.

- Data shows that the American Robin population seems to be stable or even increasing in the majority of North America, apparently benefiting from urbanization and agricultural uses of the land.

- Robins live on average about 1 ½ years; but, according to bird banding records, the oldest known Robin found in the wild was almost 14 years old.


Wild Birds Unlimited Freshest Bird Seed in Town!
Red Hot Prices April 1-15!


Nyjer - Reg 49.99 / Sale 45.99

No Mess Plus - Reg 49.99 / Sale 45.99

            

You are cordially invited to join us
Sunday April 9th from 12-2pm

The Reno Hawk Project - Final Discoveries!

 

Join UNR doctoral student Justin White, of the Reno Hawk Project, as he reviews the final results of his study of Red-tailed hawks that live in urban areas of the Truckee Meadows region. Over the last few years, White and a team of interns have monitored Reno and Sparks' Red-tail hawk nests with cameras, spotting-scopes and binoculars, trying to learn more about where urban hawks live, what they eat, and how they coexist with humans.

Now at the end of the project, he will be presenting the results of the study along with photos he collected during the study.  Come join us for an exciting presentation on the hawks that live among us!

~ Seating is first come first serve basis ~

 1100 West Moana Lane Reno, NV 89509
Held in the Landscape Building opposite the Nursery


Spring Migration has Begun

April is a Sweet Month to Feed the Birds
Spring migration is underway, and a countless number of birds are heading north to their nesting territories.
Fortunately, two of the hobby's favorite birds, hummingbirds and orioles, can be immediately attracted to feeders with nectar (and fruit and jelly for orioles), making it a sweet month to feed the birds.
Only 5% of all avian families include nectar as an important part of their diet, making hummingbirds and orioles part of a very exclusive dining club.
It only takes between 30 to 50 minutes for nectar to be digested, so hummingbirds must eat a lot and often. In fact, hummingbirds eat about every ten minutes and can drink up to twice their body weight in nectar every day.
However, no bird's diet is made up entirely of nectar. Nectar-eaters must also include other foods, usually insects, to obtain essential amino acids and other nutrients.
When orioles are not feeding on nectar or fruit, they forage for spiders, caterpillars and other insects. Hummingbirds spend more than 25% of their time foraging for arthropods, such as spiders.
You can attract hummingbirds and orioles to your feeders using slightly varying methods. Hummingbirds enjoy a nectar solution of four parts water to one part sugar. Orioles prefer a mix of six parts water to one part sugar, plus solid foods, like fresh orange slices, grape jelly and mealworms.
 
Watch Northern Migrations Online
Visit www.learner.org/jnorth/humm to monitor the northward migration of hummingbirds and www.learner.org/jnorth/oriole for an oriole migration map.

Upcoming Events
 
Lahontan Audubon Society

Saturday, April 1
5:00am
 Field Trip-Sage-Grouse Lek/Honey Lake IMPORTANT UPDATE
Saturday, April 8
8:00am
 Field Trip - Damonte Wetlands
Tuesday, April 18
4:00pm
 Birds & Books Reading Group
Friday, April 21
8:00am
 Field Trip - Davis Creek RP, Washoe
Tuesday, April 25
6:30pm
 Sliding Bones and Racing Rocks by George Baumgardner - Program Meeting
Friday, April 28
5:00pm
 Owens Lake Bird Festival
Saturday, April 29
 Owens Lake Bird Festival
Sunday, April 30
» 4:00pm
 Owens Lake Bird Festival

Animal Ark

SPONSORS NIGHT!

April 15 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Animal Ark1265 Deerlodge Road 
Reno, NV 89508 United States 
This is an invitation-only event for Members and Adoptive Parents! Bring a treat for your animal; talk to the animal keepers; and hear behind-the-scenes stories. Not yet a member or a sponsor? You are welcome to purchase either status at the door.
Find out more »

Nature Happenings
* Project FeederWatch ends this month, www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw
* Turkey Vultures return late.
* Bald Eagles begin their nesting behaviors.
* Ravens, crows and Canada Geese begin nesting.
* Ground Squirrels being to emerge from hibernation.
* Listen for singing Northern Leopard Frogs, Boreal Chorus Frogs and Columbia Spotted Frogs.
* Osprey and Screech Owls are sitting on their eggs.
* Bluebirds are nesting by end of month. Be sure to have their houses ready.
* Phoebe's return this month.
* Song Sparrows begin calling.
* South winds bring major waves of migrating birds like thrushes and warblers.
* Flickers establish their territories late in the month.
* Canada Geese are nesting and their first young hatch.
* Lyrids meteor shower, late-April.
* Earth Day, April 22.
Feed Our Local Birds!
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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509