I am prompted to write this post after Brigitte Carey, commenting on a photograph of mine of a European robin, commented “We actually have reports of one single robin on Elbow Cay. We think he was blown off course by the very strong winds we had a few weeks ago. He has been sighted in separate spots on Elbow Cay in the last couple of weeks. Poor guy…he’ll have a lonely life here!”
I wondered what other evidence exists of their presence on Abaco as occasional visitors – the northern Bahamas are not within their usual migratory range – so I did a bit of research
AMERICAN ROBIN DISTRIBUTION MAP
YELLOW – summer-only range
GREEN – all year-round
BLUE – winter-only migration range
I’ve checked various online databases – Avibase, e-bird for example – for reported sightings. The evidence is that reports are very scarce indeed. Of course that does not necessarily reflect actual sightings, which are presumably more numerous. Overall however, American Robins certainly seem rare enough on Abaco, even though their full range includes nearby Florida. Which is why the recent reports Brigitte refers to are so significant.Fortunately the spotter Michele S put her brief Elbow Cay / Hope Town sighting report onto e-bird: “After a gale, saw two on the lawn in front of the Lighthouse” This was on Sunday 4 March 2012 at 9.30 a.m, and it would seem they were blown over to Abaco during the high winds. Brigitte will be pleased to hear that there were in fact two of them, so loneliness won’t be a problem… Apart from that very recent sighting, there is a recorded sighting on Man-o-War Cay in 1983; and one on Green Turtle Cay in 2008. Avibase suggests no sightings on South Abaco [except perhaps Marsh Harbour]. The species is however included in the checklist for Little Abaco. If any reader has seen an American robin on Abaco, it would be great to know when and where (using the COMMENT box below), and I will add the details to this post.
NEW – 2012 sightings at TC! Thanks to Elwood D. Bracey MD of Treasure Cay for his comments – and please contact him (or use the COMMENT box) if you can help with his valiant quest to reach the magic 200 species seen – he’s on 170 now:
“As a birder living on Abaco for the past 20 years I’ve seen over 20 robins here, sometimes as many as 6 in North Abaco at once. This year I had 2 in Treasure Cay and 3 in Crown Haven. They appear on average once every other year. While notable I feel they are almost annual… why some years and not others I’m not sure.
Cedar Waxwings, Dickcissels, and Ruby-crowned kinglets are similar. This year we had our first Swainson’s Hawk for the Caribbean at the organic vegetable farm in North Abaco. It’s still here as is the Canada Goose on the #11 hole at TC Golf Course. It’s nice we have these vagrants and makes for interesting birding. I’m trying for a big year in the Bahamas (no one has ever had over 200 species in 1 year and I’m at 170 so far so if anyone has any unusual sightiongs please call me at 365-8305) [RH note: with only 196 recorded Abaco species on Avibase, this may be difficult to achieve…]. There was a pair of Wood Ducks on the TC GC which I missed. I did find 3 Kirtland’s Warblers [RH note: red-listed as ‘near-threatened’, and only ‘rare / accidental’ on Abaco] near Hole-in-the- Wall in January. Clean lenses and fast focusing!”
Photo Credits for the above images to good old Wiki
Here’s my own photo of an American Robin in Central Park NYC – I didn’t get very close…
These ARs are exhibited in the Museum of Natural History, NYC
Finally, here are 2 European robins for comparison. They are far smaller than the American version, roughly the size of a vireo
This is the photograph that Brigitte commented on – a robin’s Spring song – that I took a few days ago
Reblogged this on Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors.
As a birder living on Abaco for the past 20 years I’ve seen over 20 robins here, sometimes as many, as 6 at a time in North Abaco at once. This year I had 2 in Treasure Cay and 3 in Crown Haven.
They appear on average once every other year.
While notable i feel they are almost annual and why some years and not others I’m not sure.
Cedar Waxwings, Dickcissels, and Ruby-crowned kinglets are similar.
This year we had our first Swainson’s Hawk for the Caribbean at the organic vegetable farm in North Abaco. It’s still here as is the Canada Goose on the #11 hole at TC Golf Course.
It”s nice we have these vagrants and makes for interesting birding. IU’m trying for a big yesr in the Bahamas ( no one has ever hgad over 200 species in 1 year and I’m at 170 so far so if anyone has any unusual sightiongs please call me at 365-8305). There was a pair of Wood Ducks on the TC GC which I missed. I did find 3 Kirtland’s Warblers near Hole-in-the- Wall in January.
Clean lenses and fast focusing!
Elwood D. Bracey. MD
Treasure Cay, Abaco
Hi Elwood and thanks for joining this discussion. It’s great to hear of some more 2012 AR sightings, which I will add to the post in due course. And if you get a photo of one, that would be excellent! Thanks also for the other interesting bird news from North Abaco. 170 species is awesome. The Avibase checklist for the whole of Abaco lists only 196 recorded species… so the magic target of 200 may be hard to reach without the help of some blow-ins and accidentals. Even then, you’d have to be in the right place at the right time! But it’s not an exhaustive database: the checklist for South Abaco omits peregrine falcons, which are regularly seen at the Delphi Club. All the best from Rolling Harbour
I have seen Robins from time to time here on Abaco,but none in recent years. I remember once seeing several together in the Cholera Graveyard in Hope Town, sometime in the 1980s I believe.
Thanks for that, Reg. So they obviously do visit, and it seems they prefer Elbow Cay. Or perhaps they are simply more visible there? But it’s quite strange that there are so very few recent reports, say within the last 5 years. ATB, RH
Yeah there are two here then, that’s wonderful…maybe they will stay.
I can try to share this with my friends on the north end of Elbow to see if they can maybe get at photo!
Thanks Keith – nice photos!
Getting some reports of sightings last century…! A current photo would be excellent, Brigitte.