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Alert and Alarmed

How can we tell if a robin senses danger? We can tell not only by the calls he’s making, but also by his posture. Robins flick their wings and tails when alarmed. Sometimes they crouch. All these actions are similar to what the robin does when he flies off. These alarm displays get him ready to take off in a hurry. They also let nearby robins know he's nervous about something that could be dangerous enough that they should leave too.

Watch your backyard robins this summer to see what other behaviors you discover!

Photo: Laura Erickson

Animated photo of an alarmed robin's body language