Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Thrushes belong to the family Muscicapidae which includes some of the finest singers of all birds. Nineteen species are native to North America. These birds feed on insects and fruit and are well known for reminding us of spring soon approaching. In addition to the species below, the hermit thrush, wood thrush, veery, mountain bluebird, ruby-crowned kinglet, and golden-crowned kinglet may be seen in North Dakota.
The American robin is probably the most well known bird in North America. In North Dakota, the robin can be found statewide during the breeding season. The robin is about 10 inches long with a wingspan of 16 inches. The robin has a rusty colored breast and is dark brownish-gray on the head, back, and tail. The male usually has a darker orange-colored breast than the female but both are similar in appearance. An immature robin will have a speckled breast. The robin inhabits a variety of settings such as parks, gardens, city lawns, and rural settings. It prefers feeding on lawns and in meadows for earthworms, insects, and berries.
Robins build a typical cup-shaped nest in a tree or other structure anywhere from ground-level to tree top height. Females will usually have two broods each season and lay 3-6 eggs which are light blue.
The eastern bluebird is a cavity nesting bird about 6-7 inches long with a wingspan of about 12 inches. The male is more brightly colored than the female and has a rich blue back and top, rust-colored breast, and white belly. The female is more pale and often has a gray tinge to the plumage. Eastern bluebirds prefer open country associated with scattered trees and can be seen perched on utility lines and fence posts. Eastern bluebirds have increased in number due to artificial nesting boxes provided by conservation-minded people. Bluebirds eat mostly insects but will also feed on berries. The nest is constructed by the female who lays 3-7 blue eggs, with an occasional clutch of white eggs.