All About The Michigan State Bird: The American Robin

What is the State Bird of Michigan? (And Why?):

Short answer: The American Robin. Here’s why…

The American Robin: Michigan’s State Bird

The American Robin, scientifically known as Turdus migratorius, is a familiar bird in Michigan and many other parts of North America. 

It is a beloved species, often spotted hopping around lawns, gardens, and parks, and is especially well-known for its cheerful, melodious song that welcomes the arrival of spring. 

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the American Robin’s status as Michigan’s state bird, along with some interesting facts about its breeding and nesting habits.

Why the rockin’ robin is Michigan’s state bird

The rockin’ robin, also known as the American Robin, is Michigan’s state bird for several reasons. 

First and foremost, the bird is a year-round resident of Michigan and is found throughout the state’s forests, woodlands, and residential areas. 

This makes it a familiar and beloved symbol of the state’s natural beauty and wildlife.

Additionally, the rockin’ robin is known for its resilience and hardiness. These birds are able to adapt to different environments and are able to withstand Michigan’s harsh winter climate

This makes them an ideal symbol of the state’s hardworking and tenacious residents.

What does the state bird of Michigan look like?

American Robins are medium-sized birds, measuring about 10 inches in length and weighing around 77 grams. 

They have a distinctive red breast, gray upperparts, and a yellow bill. The males and females have similar markings, but males have darker heads than females. Juvenile robins have spotted breasts and lack the red coloration of adults.

How do these birds behave?

American Robins are active and vocal birds that are commonly seen in urban, suburban, and rural areas throughout North America. 

They are known for their hopping gait and their ability to run quickly across the ground. 

Robins are active during the day and often spend their time foraging for food.

Do American Robins form communities?

Robins are social birds and often form communities during the winter months. 

They are known to gather in large flocks of up to several hundred birds. These flocks help protect individual birds from predators, and they also increase the chances of finding food.

What do American Robins eat?

American Robins are omnivorous birds, and their diet consists of both insects and fruits. They feed on earthworms, grubs, caterpillars, and beetles, as well as berries, apples, and other fruits. 

In the winter, when insects are scarce, robins rely more heavily on fruits.

Why Is the American Robin the State Bird for Michigan?

The American Robin was designated as Michigan’s official state bird in 1931. The decision to choose this bird as the state emblem was largely due to its abundance in the state, as well as its familiarity to the general public. 

The bird’s red breast and dark head, combined with its distinctive song, make it easily recognizable to people of all ages and backgrounds.

When Did the American Robin Become the State Bird for Michigan?

Michigan’s decision to make the American Robin its state bird was part of a larger trend in the early 20th century, when many states were selecting official state birds for the first time. 

In Michigan’s case, the decision was made in 1931, following a poll of schoolchildren conducted by the Detroit Audubon Society. 

The American Robin was the clear favorite among the children, receiving over 100,000 votes.

Breeding & Nesting Info

American Robins are known for their exceptional parenting skills, and they take great care to raise their young. Here are some interesting facts about their breeding and nesting habits:

1. Percentage Of Live Chicks

Female American Robins lay an average of 3-4 eggs per clutch, and they may have up to three clutches per year. The incubation period lasts approximately two weeks, after which the chicks hatch. 

Once hatched, the chicks are fed a diet of insects and fruit, which their parents collect and bring to the nest. Interestingly, only about 25% of all robin chicks survive to leave the nest.

2. The Best Parents To Their Young

American Robins are known for being excellent parents, and both the male and female take an active role in caring for their young. 

They will fiercely defend their nest against predators, and will even attack humans or other animals that come too close. 

In addition, they use a variety of vocalizations and body language to communicate with their young, teaching them important survival skills and warning them of potential dangers.

Facts About the American Robin

1. Scientific classification

The American Robin belongs to the Turdidae family, which includes thrushes, bluebirds, and solitaires. Its scientific name, Turdus migratorius, means “migratory thrush,” reflecting its habit of moving from place to place in search of food and nesting sites.

2. Nickname

The American Robin is also known as the “harbinger of spring,” thanks to its habit of arriving in northern areas just as winter is ending. 

Its cheerful song and bright red breast are seen as signs of the coming season, and many people look forward to their return each year.

3. Love for honeysuckle

American Robins are known to have a particular fondness for honeysuckle berries, which are a major food source for them during the fall and winter months. 

They are also known to eat a variety of other fruits, as well as insects, earthworms, and other small creatures.

4. Cheerful & aggressive

While American Robins are known for their cheerful song and friendly demeanor, they can also be quite aggressive when it comes to defending their territory and their young. 

They will attack other birds, animals, and even humans if they feel threatened, and they are not afraid to stand their ground.

5. Sweet tooth

American Robins have a surprisingly sweet tooth, and they are known to eat a variety of sugary foods, including berries, fruits, and even jelly. 

They have been known to raid orchards and berry patches, causing headaches for farmers and gardeners.

6. Sharp eyesight

American Robins have excellent eyesight, and they use it to hunt for prey, spot predators, and navigate their environment. 

Their eyes are particularly sensitive to blue and green light, which helps them distinguish ripe fruit from unripe or spoiled fruit.

What Makes The State Bird Of Michigan Unusual?

While the American Robin is a common and familiar species throughout much of North America, it is somewhat unusual as a state bird, due to its lack of flashy colors or striking markings. 

However, its cheerful personality, melodic song, and abundance in Michigan and other states have made it a beloved symbol of spring and renewal.

Additionally, its exceptional parenting skills and dedication to its young make it a model of good parenting and a source of inspiration for people of all ages.

FAQs About Michigan State Bird

What is Michigan’s state bird and flower?

Michigan’s state bird is the American Robin (Turdus migratorius), and its state flower is the Apple Blossom (Pyrus coronaria). Both were officially adopted as state symbols in 1931.

Is Michigan getting a new state bird?

Not currently. There have been no recent proposals to change Michigan’s state bird from the American Robin, which has been the state bird since 1931.

Does Michigan have a state animal?

Yes, Michigan’s state animal is the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). It was adopted as the state animal in 1997 and is one of Michigan’s most recognizable and beloved wild animals.

Why is the American Robin the state bird of Michigan?

The American Robin was designated as Michigan’s state bird in 1931 due to its abundance in the state and its cheerful, melodic song, which many people associate with spring and the arrival of warmer weather. 

Additionally, the American Robin is a common and widespread bird in North America, making it a fitting symbol for Michigan and other states.

What is Michigan famous for?

Michigan is famous for many things, including its automotive industry, its stunning natural scenery, and its rich cultural heritage. 

It is home to numerous museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks, as well as several world-renowned universities and research institutions. 

Michigan is also known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, such as fishing, hunting, boating, and camping. 

Finally, Michigan is famous for its diverse and delicious cuisine, including iconic dishes like Coney dogs, pasties, and cherry pie.

Final Thoughts About Michigan State Bird

The American Robin is an iconic species that is beloved by people all across Michigan and beyond.Its status as the state bird is a testament to its popularity and familiarity, and its distinctive appearance and cheerful song make it a welcome sight in gardens and parks throughout the state. 

By learning more about its breeding and nesting habits, we can deepen our appreciation for this remarkable bird and its important role in our natural world.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.