Posted by: atowhee | August 9, 2018


August 9.  It is American Robin Day here at towheeblog.  First thing I saw outside my bedroom window this morning was a newly-fledged robin.  This must have been the kid’s first dawn out of the nest. One of the parents was feeding at the far end of the garden while “Freckles”  stood in different perches along our old wooden Luytens bench.  I suspect everything in sight looked new, mysterious, but not yet threatening.  I didn’t test to see how close I could get, but the bird simply eyed me and the dog (she cares nought for birds that don’t roll about like tennis balls).  Click on any image for close up view.

Note the waxy feather sheaths still sticking out of the back of the skull.  I especially liked the starter tail on this bird.  I know it isn’t fair to laugh, but…
Notice also the wings barely reach the bird’s butt.  The orange is just beginning…such a process to go through to become a 2.5 ounce thrush.  This must be at least the second set of youngsters for the season, and this one won’t have to migrate next month so there’s plenty to time to get a full set of feathers, and be waterproof before winter rains supreme.

A long-time friend, Roger, lives near Madison, Wisconsin, and he just sent me this picture of one of his neighbors there.  They know him as “Patches:”Patches

Here’s Roger’s note about their robin (theirs all migrate): “Hi Harry,
“Thought that you might have some interest in the attached photo. It is of a robin that we have affectionately named Patches. It has been around all summer (having survived a late snow that then became covered by with an inch of ice that did in lots of spring arrivals). It has the genetic abnormality leucism. Not that uncommon . You could well have already seen it in a number of individual birds with the same abnormality. We had a crow that had the same abnormality last year, but not as pronounced. (Perhaps, if you ever show up at our place, you should avoid drinking the water.)
“In any case, since we have had an individual robin that we can easily identify, we can say that it stays within about a three acre territory, never straying beyond that. It will be interesting to see if he shows up next spring. (If he doesn’t, we won’t know if he went elsewhere or simply did not survive the winter and subsequent migration.)”

Of course, it is genetics and not the Wisconsin water that makes for the leucistic robin.  But the Wisconsin water might be a political problem, turning one into a fan of Governor Scott Walker, that could be tragic…


  1. […] In the bird world I have seen many unexpectedly white or overly white birds: Surfbird, California Towhee, robin and Song Sparrow in San Francisco. Brewer’s Blackbird in Medford.  Fox Sparrow. Chickadees in several places.  Click here for robin with too much white to be ordinary…in Wisconsin. […]

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