Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

American Robin on Rock

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In the Field

American Robin on Rock. Findlay Creek, BC, Canada. May 14, 2005.

The return of the American Robin to the north has come to be a harbinger of spring, and many people await the arrival of these cheerful singers with great anticipation. As a photographer though, it's easy to overlook what's right under our nose while searching out the more exotic or charismatic species.

It wasn't the Robin alone that motivated me to capture this image. I actually was drawn primarily by the background - the blurred orange/yellow hues are actually Arrow-leaved Balsamroot flowers that naturally bloom every May in our area. I knew by using a large aperture I could throw the flowers out of focus and produce a visually pleasing background. So, I set up my camera and just waited for an avian arrival! I got lucky, and the first bird to show up was this Robin, which just happened to match the background so well. Photeus (that rascally ancient pagan Greek god of digital photography) smiled on me this day!

Behind the Camera

American Robin on Rock. Findlay Creek, BC, Canada. May 14, 2005.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) format; ISO 100.

Nikon D2X with Nikon 200-400 mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR lens @ 380 mm (570 mm equivalent with digital conversion factor) supported on Gitzo 1348 carbon fibre tripod with Wimberley head. VR turned to "On" and in "Normal" mode.

1/40s @ f4; no compensation from matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

American Robin on Rock. Findlay Creek, BC, Canada. May 14, 2005.

Details to follow.


American Robin on Rock. Findlay Creek, BC, Canada. May 14, 2005.

Species Status in Canada*: This species is not designated as at risk.

The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is the largest of North American thrushes. Additionally, it has the widest distribution and is the most abundant of all the thrushes. Add in its comfort with urban and backyard appearances and its loud, musical song and it becomes of North Americas most recognizable birds. Common, familiar and cool the American Robin has been described as "America's favourite songbird".

From an ecological perspective the American Robin is also very impressive. It is equally comfortable in urban and natural settings, from sea level to high in the alpine, and most everywhere in between.

The vast majority of Robin breeding populations are stable or increasing across North America. In 2019 the Partners in Flight database estimated the North American population at 370 million individuals, making it the most abundant bird in North America (ahead of Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, and Mourning Doves).

*as determined by COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada