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June 2018 Natural Mystery Answered

posted Jul 9, 2018, 9:35 AM by Minnesota Ki Society   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 1:22 PM by Jonathan Poppele ]
Several of you took on identifying these bird tracks--offering guesses that ranged from European Starlings to American Dippers and beyond. And, as several of you correctly answered, these are the tracks of an American Robin. Congratulations to Brendan White, Sue Mansfield, and Rob Grunewald who each point out some of the distinguishing features in their answers.

Brendan White notes:
"These tracks have the curvy outer toes and the top of the middle toe curves inward which is typical with Robins."

Sue Mansfield describes her straight-forward process:
"The tracks are slightly less than 2 inches so I checked Elbroch and Marks to see which bird tracks fell in that range.  I went back and forth between Gray Catbird and American Robin but settled on American Robin due to the bulbous toe pads evident in the tracks."

Rob Grunewald breaks down a few more details:
"The size falls in the range of the American Robin, Blackbirds, Startlings, among some others. Toe 2 on the left track is curving slightly backward, which is common for toes 2 and 4 for Robins. On the right track the line toes 1 and 3 make is curving inward, which is also characteristic for Robins. The metatarsal pad is also not registering."

Thanks to everyone who submitted answers. I learned a lot from reading through all of them--and am eager to get out and look at more bird tracks!