American Robin: Beautifully Different

An American robin with abnormal coloration. Not only unique but gorgeous!

I left the house early this morning and headed for Blue Springs Creek Conservation Area (Crawford County) where I donned my neoprene waders and hiked up the spring run, not quite in need of my headlamp. It was still almost dark when I settled into my turkey chair so I napped a little until I could see something. About two and a half hours later I was getting chilly and bored as the water and woods were devoid of wildlife.

I was seriously considering packing up my gear when a bunch of robins, over a hundred, began landing all around me to get a drink from the clear spring water. I sat and watched them for a while as they drank, bathed and foraged near the stream. After about 20 minutes a whitish bird flew in with a new group and landed at water’s edge, too far off to my right and behind me to get a shot. I immediately saw that it was a robin with abnormal coloration, likely leucistic which is caused by genetics versus diet.

After the beautiful piebald robin drank for a minute it flew off into the woods and I assumed I would never see it again. I waited for about 45 minutes for it to return but deep down I knew it wouldn’t. I finally gave up and collected my gear with the notion that maybe I could locate it in the bottomland woods where most of the flock had headed earlier.

As I walked downstream, eyes to the woods, I saw a white flash within 45 seconds! The little white and orange robin was buried in some deep cover so I knew I couldn’t get a shot but Nature was saying to me there was a chance! I watched the beautiful bird for a while and soon it flew off to another even tougher patch of briars. Another 30 to 40 minutes passed by as I traipsed through the woods watching the flock feed in different locations.

I was beginning to think I would never get a decent image of the robin when I noticed it was feeding in a patch of privet with some of its comrades. I jockeyed around for a clear shooting lane, well away from the birds with my 500 mm lens on my tripod and focused in on the robin as it gorged on berries. I made about 20 images before it moved on to a new feeding location and I turned back toward the creek hoping that at least one image came out.

When I got back to my 4Runner I reviewed the images and found that 19 of the 20 were inadequate in some way, due to lack of focus and or branches in front of the bird’s face. But one of the 20 was pretty nice and I’m sharing it here with you. I love the way the robin is arched, tail up and head ready to grab another berry. In the following image, the funny-looking little robin had a berry in its mouth but the focus just wasn’t up to my standards.

Things have been really dead lately regardless of my morning shooting locations. This weirdly colorful robin was just what I needed to get my spirits back up. I can’t wait to go somewhere else in the morning. Maybe my luck will continue. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy Naturing,


Email: Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery: Danny’s Website

America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.

6 comments on “American Robin: Beautifully Different”

  1. THAT IS super cool!! Both the photo and experience… You, such as you are, were blessed with this uncommon experience.
    Good for you!! A sign of a great year ahead? I think. :))))))))

  2. Hey Danny, great shot of the unusual robin. I would have been wondering what it was if it hadn’t been amongst a bunch of other robins. I bet it got your photography juices stirring when you first saw it. I could relate to your earlier comments about being out for a long period of time and not seeing much. My attitude is it’s just great to be out in the fresh air even if Mother Nature seems to be taking a nap. I’m going to forward your image to friends who will appreciate it. Ph

    • Hi Phil — You know it! I was really pumped to see that bird and then quickly realized I wouldn’t get a shot. I was so lucky to find it in the woods later. That usually never works.

  3. What a spectacular bird. Thanks for sharing

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