Sad news. History making UAB baby robin “Blaze” has died. Here is how you can remember her.

Photo from Greg Harber via his Facebook page

Blaze, the UAB baby robin that captured the hearts of bird lovers throughout Birmingham, passed away earlier this week.

The news came from a heartfelt Facebook post by Greg Harber, the local bird expert who discovered Blaze and her family and was chronicling their development over the past two weeks.

This is a “must read” from my friend Greg.

A first in Alabama

Additional background. Named Blaze, by Greg, the bird and her two siblings were the first ever confirmed American robins born in Alabama during the month of November.  She was the only baby robin to survive and successfully leave her nest on December 8th.


Thanksgiving Miracle

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

Found on Thanksgiving Day, at UAB,  Blaze and her family were the latest confirmed sighting of robins nesting in Alabama history. The previous record was September 2nd, according to Greg Jackson, the keeper of Alabama bird records in the state.

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

The history making baby robin’s passing on December 12th, four days after she left the nest, has drawn up to 105 comments on Greg’s Facebook page.

Here is a sample of the comments


“Blaze you were a ray of hope. Thank you for reminding us that life is beautiful and we need to enjoy it. Peace”

“My heart is saddened by this post. I had so hoped that Blaze would beat the odds. Thank you for caring and sharing Greg. Life is precious and not to be taken for granted.”

Mom robin keeping Blaze warm. Photo by Greg Harber

“Oh no!! I am saddened by this. 😥I am glad at least you were able to find him or we would wonder whatever happened to him. Rest in peace Blaze. For your short little life you impacted more people than any Robin I know.”

This little bird’s story genuinely touched people’s lives.

How do you honor a baby robin and her family?

Blaze receiving mealworms from dad. Photo by Greg Harber

The story of Blaze and her family has greatly increased interest in our feathered friends that live among us here in the Magic City.

So how do you recognize Blaze’s short life?


Here is my suggestion.

In lieu of flowers (we wouldn’t know where to send them!) – Wouldn’t it be appropriate to provide people loved this little bird ways they can learn more about birds and locally support them.

My answer:  Support Alabama Audubon.

Get involved – starting this January

Below is one of my favorite photos of Greg Harber teaching my daughter how to identify birds when she was 4 years old.


Today, 12 years later, she still remembers that moment, and as a result deeply appreciates the birds around her.

Audubon
Photo of Greg Harber teaching birding at Caldwell Park to a young student. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

If you love birds, but don’t quite know how to get started birding – attend an Alabama Audubon field trip or workshop. Most of these events are free and in the Birmingham metro area.

Here is the January schedule:


Start 2020 off right with a local field trip.  Join the  January 4th half-day field trip to BIRDingham parks.  This will be a great way to learn about our birds and places they reside locally.

Birmingham Alabama
Photo by Greg Harber at Railroad Park

Check out Alabama Audubon’s adult classes coming up in January, including Mastering Winter Water Birds with Greg Harber, and the new Winter Songbirds and Raptors class from Paul Franklin.

You can also volunteer with them at the upcoming 3rd Annual MLK Day of Service at W.E. Putnam Middle School!


There events nearly every week in the winter and spring. Visit alaudubon.org for details and  follow them on social media (@alaudubon on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).

Become a member. Support the Annual Fund

Birmingham Audubon
Birders “flock” together. Photo from Birmingham Audubon Facebook page

If you would like to support birds locally donate to the Alabama Audubon Annual Fund drive at alaudubon.org/annualfund.

Your tax deductible contribution will support Audubon’s conservation and outreach efforts on behalf of Alabama’s birds.


Honor Blaze by  becoming a member—its only $20 a year, which gets you discounts on their adult classes and Audubon Mountain Workshop.

Alabama Audubon Car Tag

Proposed Alabama Audubon car tag. Photo courtesy of Alabama Audubon

And one last item. Stay tuned for an announcement in 2020 about the new “Protect Our Birds” Alabama Audubon car tag (picture above) featuring a red-shouldered hawk and longleaf pine. Email Alabama Audubon  at info@alaudubon.org to find out more.

Remember Blaze

Remember Blaze by celebrating and supporting our birds. I know, because of that little Thanksgiving Miracle… I will.


Author: 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.