Turdus Migratorius

The Official (Unofficial) Bird of Collection Systems

Problem: Wastewater collection system professionals need a unifying symbol that captures the essence of their service to society. Water distribution professionals often use a single water drop for this purpose, but historically there has been no comparable symbol for wastewater collection system professionals.

Solution: The North American Robin

Why the North American Robin?

  • The Robin lives in every state and province in North America and is found where people live and congregate . . . just like sewer folks.
  • The Robin spends the day with an eye on the ground looking after things unseen by others . . . just like sewer folks.
  • The Robin makes a living doing things with holes in the ground that most people find disgusting . . . just like sewer folks.
  • But most importantly, the scientific name of the North American Robin is a fitting description of our industry’s mission – Turdus migratorius.


Pat Stevens

Peter Keefe

Patrick Stevens and Peter Keefe first hatched the concept of Turdus migratorius as a wastewater collection system mascot. Peter, an avid birdwatcher, can identify more birds by sound than by sight, and one day during a birdwatching discussion, he mentioned that the North American Robin, being in the Thrush or Turdus genus and the Family Turdidae bears the scientific name Turdus migratorius. Patrick immediately noted that this scientific name was an apt and succinct description of the vital role wastewater collection system professionals play in protecting public health and the environment. Turdus migratorius has been flying high ever since.

The Turdus Flock

While dedicated and diligent, wastewater professionals also go about their mission with a healthy sense of humility and humor. The Turdus migratorius flock has evolved into a loosely organized movement to recognize the spirit of these professionals. Members are inducted into the flock in a brief ceremony where they take an oath, receive their lapel pin, and learn how to acknowledge other members. Today, the flock numbers in the 100s and continues to grow.
Turdus Migratorius Inductee Lapel Pin

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Induction ceremonies for the Turdus migratorius flock