Birds of the Day: American Robin parent and chick

American robin parent and baby resting on a tree branch, a couple wingspans apart from each other
The adult is on the left, and the child on the lower right. You can tell it’s not fully grown yet by the lighter color of its wings and the pale, speckled breast.

It’s summer, and birds of a certain age—too old to be fledglings and too young to be independent juveniles—are all around if you know where to look: usually upwards, particularly if you hear a high-pitched peep-peep.

That’s how I spotted this pair of robins this afternoon while hanging out on the deck with Lilo, who is enjoying her new opportunities to go outside very much, thank you, but often prefers sitting in one spot to walking. (I tried to get a picture of her lazing under the mayapples today, but as soon as I moved toward her, she jumped up onto the deck and started sniffing my face. Not so good for picture taking.)

But I digress. I was watching another, much smaller bird (a house wren, perhaps?–I needed binoculars to be sure and didn’t have them with me), when the motion of two robins kissing caught my eye. If you read my blog regularly, you have learned along with me that when two birds “kiss,” it’s twenty to one that it’s an adult feeding its offspring. So I did my usual thing of whipping out the camera, and soon after did my almost-as-usual thing of swearing under my breath, because by the time I had the birds in my sights, they were no longer sitting next to each other, but a few wingspans apart.

I took about a bazillion shots with various aperture settings in hopes of getting both birds in focus *in the same photo,* but it was not to be. This is the best shot, with parent in crisp focus and baby a tad fuzzy around the edges.

Robin facts

Fun American robin fact #1: American robins got their name because British settlers were reminded of the robin redbreast they’d known back home. Ironically, the robin redbreast’s breast is not nearly so red as that of the American robin’s, as this photo illustrates:

European robin (Erithacus_rubecula) with_cocked_head
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by 

Another fun American robin fact #2: I’d tell you its Latin name, but certain of my readers would be so overcome by giggle fits upon reading the genus, they might never recover. (Can you figure it out? The bold text at the head of this paragraph contains a hint. If you dare, you can look it up on the Cornell ornithology website yourself.)

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