Teaching Suggestions
American Robin Dictionary of Songs and Sounds

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American Robin Dictionary of Songs and Sounds)

Zeeeeup!" Peek!" "Tut, tut, tut!" What do robins mean when they make these sounds? Robins produce several vocalizations. In this lesson, students listen to the six vocalizations most commonly heard and learn what the vocalizations mean.


  • Build students' understanding about robin vocalizations.
  • Inspire students to listen and learn more carefully to sounds they hear from backyard birds.


  1. Identify and describe the six most common robin vocalizations.
  2. Explain the context and meanings for each of the six vocalizations.



1. Play each of the six audio recordings of the robin vocalizations several times.

Encourage students to write how they would describe each sound in the recordings. Have them share the words they created to capture what they hear.

2. Write the names of each vocalization on the board or chart paper. Play each recording again and have students predict which name matches each sound. Challenge them to think about how the robin uses each song and call to communicate a message. Use guiding questions to spark their thinking: Why do you think robins make different kinds of sounds? When do you think robins can be heard making each of these sounds? What sounds would you hear if a robin sensed danger or felt threatened by a predator?

3. Distribute the American Robin "Dictionary Cards." Have students read through each card to learn more about robin vocalizations. Play the audio recordings and challenge students to predict which card matches each vocalization. Encourage them to share reasons for their predictions. Reveal which card matches each vocalization. Play the recordings again, noting details about descriptive words, context, and meanings provided on the cards.

4. Invite students to make a mini-field-guide with the dictionary cards. Encourage them to take their new field guide with them when they go out to observe robins in their backyard.

5. Challenge students to Play Name that Tune by taking a quiz to test their identification skills.