Submit Your Questions
Paid subscribers only. Deadline March 21, 1997
My name is Julie Brophy and I work at Journey North. I look forward to answering your questions about one of
our favorite signs of spring--the American Robin!
The American Robin has been a springtime favorite for hundreds of years. In fact, the name "robin redbreast"
is believed to have come from early English settlers in America who were so excited to see these birds after a
first long winter, that they gave it the same name as their robin from England (the eurasian robin) even though
they knew that this was not the same bird.
Henry David Thoreau also loved the robin, and wrote these words in his famous book "Walden":
"I heard a robin in the distance, the first I had heard for many a thousand years, methought, whose note
I shall not forget for many a thousand more,--the same sweet and powerful song..."
Have you seen your first robin of the season yet? Or heard the robin begin to sing its "cheer-up, cheer-up,...cheerily"
phrase yet? Even though I have been observing many subtle signs of spring over the last few months, I have to say
that seeing or hearing my first robin of the season is always a highlight of springtime!
I think we all know that robins love worms, but have you ever offered a robin a "mealworm"? Mealworms
are available at the most pet stores, or you can get them in the mail from Rainbow
or Grubco, and I have fed mealworms to robins for the past several years
and they love them!! (Especially in the early spring when the ground is still frozen and there are fewer natural
food sources available.) Last year, there was at least one robin in my yard who would fly up to my porch for the
mealworms. Every morning, as soon as he would hear my door open and close, the robin would fly over to get a mouthful
of mealworms. He would put as many mealworms in his mouth as he could and fly off to help feed his family.
Everyone Loves Water!
Among other things, robins also love chopped apples, raisins, chopped grapes, berries, white bread and water! They
When the weather in your area warms up, test the theory that a robin will appear within 15 minutes after you turn
your sprinkler on. Keep careful record of the time, and see if this theory can be proven!
Calling All Questions
From now until March 21, your classroom is welcome to submit three good questions on the American Robin. As a class,
discuss the American Robin and try to come up with questions that don't seem to be answered in any books that you
have seen. I look forward to reading and answering your questions!