State symbols are usually adopted after a collective effort by citizens and students to have a significant plant and flower be recognized for its importance to the state. States such as Connecticut, and many others began to adopt some of their own official state symbols several decades ago, and in some cases, over 100 years ago. A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, birds, flowers, amphibians, minerals, flags, nicknames, state seals, and much more.
Citizens, children, and educational institutions often research symbols and make a request for a bill, tracking it all the way through the legislative process with the hope that they are enacted, and new state symbols are announced for Connecticut. Like other states, there are many Connecticut state symbols. The Connecticut state bird and flower are the Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and the American Robin (Turdus migratorius).
What is the Connecticut State Bird?
The American Robin has been the bird to represent the state of Connecticut since 1943. Robins are members of the true thrush family and have been one of America’s favorite songbirds since being discovered. These birds are so popular that they are the state bird for Michigan and Wisconsin too.
Robins were given their name by the early settlers due to their similarity with the robin red-breast of Europe, which contains similar markings and coloration, but is a different bird from a different family. Robins are certainly the most commonly found thrush birds in the whole of North America and are often discovered in people’s backyards and local parks.
So, how many American Robins are there? There are currently a lot of American Robins residing around the world today, in fact, there are roughly 310 million of these birds in the world! Not only are they ubiquitous to find in backyards all over North America, but they are commonly found all over South America, and in particular, the central American islands.
The American Robin is usually seen from Alaska all the way to Virginia, roosting among the evergreens and swamps where winter berries are in abundance. They are tiny birds, from head to tail only reaching around 8.5 inches (21 cm) in length, their wingspan is typically between 12 to 16 inches, and they only weigh around 0.18 lbs (3 ounces).
Many people might not know this, but the American robin travels in large flocks during the non-breeding seasons. During the winter months, robins have been known to migrate down to Florida, the Gulf Coast, and central Mexico in need of warmer climates.
What is the Connecticut State Flower?
Mountain laurels have been the official Connecticut state flower since 1907. These flowers are certainly one of the most beautiful and unique of the native American shrubs. Additionally, this flower was adopted by Pennsylvania, becoming its state flower too. These flowers are also known as kalmia latifolia, with three other species that include the sheep laurel (K. angustifolia), dwarf laurel, and pig laurel.
The mountain laurel also goes by the name of ivy bush, calico bush, lambkill, clamoun, and even spoonwood, a lot of names, right? These flowers resemble the shape of a star and they have been well-known for their unusual shape and markings by travelers since the colonial days, being first discovered and recorded in 1624.
It was at the beginning of the 20th century when more than 3,000 women pleaded to the Connecticut State Legislature to use the mountain laurel as the official Connecticut state flower. Despite their efforts, many people turned their noses up at the idea, with one senator even suggesting that floral emblems were ‘unnecessary’. However, as the years rolled on, and after many lawmakers were receiving bunches of mountain laurels on their desks, the state flower was eventually adopted.
Mountain laurels are truly beautiful plants, they are well known for their glorious aroma too, making it incredibly easy to understand why so many women were campaigning for this flower to become an official state symbol. Each year, during the months of May and June, these flowers will burst with many little blooms, expressing incredibly bright colors.
They typically grow all throughout the eastern United States, including some southern regions of Connecticut. Many visitors flock to the Haystack Mountain State Park located in Norfolk to hike around the laurel bushes. It is popular to do this as the mountain laurels bring a different kind of aesthetic to the mountain ranges, enhancing their beauty.
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Constitution State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state bird and flower.
These interesting facts about Connecticut and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there, those that are planning to visit or are researching the historical events of the state and what they symbolize.