Celebrate wildlife that hop and leap

Today the National Wildlife Federation is celebrating wildlife that hop and leap. Sad to say that they don’t have a bird on the list and I think that they are a little remiss in this. There are lots of birds that are noted for hopping behavior. The most common North American bird that comes to mind ¬†when I think of hopping birds is the American Robin.

Robins are in the thrush family. It is a medium sized song bird. They ¬†spend a lot of time on the ground hopping about searching for insects. According to “All About Birds” at the Cornell Ornithology Labs, robins gather in large flocks during the fall and winter and spend a lot of time in trees and shrubs eating berries. I have to say I have only seen the solitary, cheeky little robins that hop about on my lawns seeking out insects. The American Robin will make a nest of twigs and branches in the fork of a tree and is famous for its robin blue eggs.

American Robins are not to be confused with the European Robin from which we get the phrase “Robin Red Breast”. This bird is classed as a flycatcher and, like his American namesake, is an insect eater and catches a lot of its food by swooping, flycatcher style, and catching in the air. It is, however, classed as friend of gardeners and likes to show up when ever anything, human or animal is digging in the ground so I would not be surprised if my European friends told me he was also commonly seen hopping about on the ground looking for meals. The European robin is smaller than the American robin and is a cavity nester. It lays small brown eggs.

While I did spend some time in England some years back, I never had the pleasure of seeing one of their little Robins. It gives me an excuse to go back.

So, while National Wildlife Federation did not include any birds in its Animals that Leap and Hop, the American Robin would be my nominee for the list. Tomorrow, Animals that Run and the Roadrunner.

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