Meet Blaze. The UAB baby robin that just made Alabama natural history. (Update and photos)

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Meet Blaze, the first confirmed American robin to ever fledge in Alabama in the month of December. Photo by Greg Harber

The first ever confirmed baby American robin born in Alabama during the month of November, successfully left its nest on December 8th.

The day after Thanksgiving 2019, Bham Now reported on the discovery of a nest of American robins on the campus of UAB, by birding expert Greg Harber.

Described as a “Thanksgiving  miracle,” the latest confirmed sighting of robins nesting in Alabama was previously on September 2nd, according to Greg Jackson, the keeper of Alabama bird records in the state.

The robins nest on the UAB campus was home to a  mom, dad and three nestlings who were found on Thanksgiving Day – November 28th.

Supporting the Robins

American Robins Nest discovered in November 2019, the latest confirmed date in Alabama history. Photo by Greg Harber for Bham Now

Over the past week and a half, Harber, who is also an Alabama Audubon volunteer and member, kept a watchful eye on the nest and provided daily mealworms for the family.

Unfortunately, two of the three baby robins  passed away early last week.  A brief cold snap on Monday most likely weaken them.

Despite that setback, the mom and dad robins continued to work very hard to keep the one robin alive and fed.

Leave the Nest Day – December 8th

Blaze, American robin that fledged about three month later than any other confirmed date in Alabama. Photo by Greg Harber via Facebook

On Sunday, December 8th,  the baby robin, which has named “Blaze” by Harber fledged… left the nest.  Here is how Harber described the momentous occasion on his Facebook post:

12-8-19, UAB American Robins update. Ladies and gentlemen, the day for which we have all been waiting has arrived. I present to you: Junior! Given that Junior is really a trailblazer (latest documented nesting in Alabama for American Robins – previous late date was September 2) and that Junior was hatched on UAB’s campus, I proposed we dub him/her Blaze!

Blaze’s mom. Photo by Greg Harber

I was busy at church this morning and could not get to the courtyard until 1:00 p.m., at which time I did not see anything at the nest, so Junior was either nestled in tight or had fledged.

No matter, I went to the tray to replenish the supply of mealworms and turned to my right when I was done – and there was Blaze, not ten feet away….

Suffice it to say the Blaze is quite active and is capable of navigating the steps with ease and can even take short flights of 2-3 feet. Mom and dad are both tending to Blaze, and so long as he/she stays in the courtyard area for the next few days life will be relatively good. I still have a supply of mealworms and will continue with those until they are depleted.

Blaze receiving mealworms from dad. Photo by Greg Harber

Congratulations little one, we’re all pulling for you!

About Two Weeks More of Learning

Mom robin keeping Blaze warm. Photo by Greg Harber

According to Harber, for the next two weeks Blaze will get stronger and  learn to fly. He/she will then join a local flock and hang around Birmingham for the winter (he’ll also be joined by wintering robins from the north).

A Trailblazer in Our Midst

Welcome to the world Blaze!  And well done mom and dad robins!

All three are natural history  record setters.


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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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