Schoolyard Habitat Resources

Happy Habitats - Summer 2017

Be on the Lookout: American Robin

The American Robin is an easily recognizable bird that is often seen in summer and is known for its charismatic qualities. Robins have a beautiful song and are well-known for their stunning blue eggs. You can often see them running along the ground, pausing between running spurts, and tilting their heads to listen for earthworms underground. Once they locate an earthworm, they plunge their beak into the ground to retrieve it. Worms are a vital source of food for hungry chicks, which reside in a nest made out of grass, sticks, and mud. Robins also eat snails, and in the winter months eat a lot of fruit and berries. Robins are fairly adaptable and can be found in lawns, fields, city parks, and more heavily wooded habitats as well. Although some Robins stay year-round, others are migratory and move south for the winter.

Garden & Wildlife Tips:

JUNE

  • If you haven’t already done so, build a compost pile with grass clippings, organic material, and leaf litter.

  • Apply organic mulches to your garden plantings. This will conserve moisture, discourage weeds, and enrich the soil as the mulch decays.

  • Scout your habitat frequently to detect pest problems earlywhen control methods are most effective.

  • Water new plantings regularly throughout the first growing season (at least 2-3 times per week, especially during dry spells).

  • Change the water in your birdbath regularly and keep it filled.

JULY

  • While the habitat is in full bloom, take notes and photographs and make sketches to remember what looks good and which areas need additional plants and habitat restoration.

  • Keep deadheading spent annual flowers for continued bloom.

  • Continue watering and weeding around new plantings.

  • If you are at the beach this summer, bring along binoculars and look for shorebirds in marshes and wetlands!

AUGUST

  • Collect your native wildflower seeds as soon as they are ripe. Store them in a paper bag in a cool place, until planting time next spring.

  • Assess the areas in your habitat that may need additional plants.

  • Continue watering and weeding around new plantings.

  • After the last broods of the season have fledged, clean out all your birdhouses by removing old nests.

  • Prepare your bird feeders for the migration season. Clean them using a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. Rinse well.

How you can help, right now