Migration Update: February 19, 2008 
Please Report
Your Sightings! >>

Today's Report Includes:


A Robin in winter?
How can you tell?
Explore! >>

The Migration: Maps, Questions, Highlights

First Seen

First Wave

First Song Heard

Where Are American Robins in February 2008?

Our Winter Robin Round-up results are in! These "snapshot" maps show what you told us: From Alaska to Florida and California to Nova Scotia, robins are feeding, flocking, and flying. A few robins are already singing! Are you surprised?

Robin migration can seem a bit confusing. As we begin the season, find out some facts about robin migration and learn why we make three different maps to track their travels:

What patterns do you notice? >>

Discover: What's Temperature Got to Do With It? Lesson! Testing a Temperature Theory >>

Your observations made us say WOW! Take a look:

  • Thousands of robins have swooped into our little neighborhood this afternoon. What an incredible sight! (Palm Coast, FL)
  • I had to slow my car when turning on to my street; the little one-lane road, as well as the yards on both sides of the street were covered with robins. It has been a very strange weather year. I wonder how this affects the migration. (Woodbine, GA)
  • I've never really seen robins here before, but in the past week I've had a hundred give or take every day feeding in my yard. They are feeding in Camphor trees on berries. They cover the trees and ground. Eating as much as possible is the goal. (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Lots of robins showed up between big winter storms here; males fighting in the bushes; berry bush in the front yard was picked almost clean just this morning. (CA)

What brings the robins? An age-old theory about robin migration says that robins arrive in an area when the average temperature is 36 degree F. Is it accurate? Why not test the theory yourselves? >>

To test whether robins seem to travel with average temperatures of 36 degrees, first find out when robins generally return to your region each spring. Begin the study about a month before their average arrival date.

"Since early January 2008, we have observed thousands of robins roosting in our neighborhood. Every morning after sun-up, they head south and are gone all day. They roost in pine and oak trees near our house."

Photo Karen DeMusey,
Jackson, CA
Journal Question: What would a robin say? Explore! American Robin Dictionary >>
"The Robins I heard were giving the Peek, Tut, and Zeeup calls," reported an observer this week. Can you translate robin-speak? Dig into our Robin Dictionary for help. Then name the call that a robin would use to "say" each of these things:
  1. "Aren't these berries delicious? What a great day. Off we go into the wild blue yonder!"
  2. "Everybody watch out! Here comes a hawk!"
  3. "Hey, sweetie! Check out MY yard! Wouldn't this be a great place to raise babies? Wouldn't I make a great father to your babies?"
Getting Ready: Can You Name That Tune?
Song is the sign we're looking for. "I heard him before I saw him. It was a male, at the top of a holly tree, singing his heart out! (Definitely singing the territorial robin song.)"

So far, only a few robins have begun to sing. Get ready so you can be as certain as this observer! Our sound recordings help you recognize six common vocalizations robins make. Then listen again to the same calls in scrambled order and see if you can…

  • Name That Tune! >>

Photo: Tom Grey
Links: More Robin Resources to Explore
  • Background: About Journey North's Robin Migration Study >>
  • Reading Nonfiction: Winter: Where Are our Robins? >>
  • Contributing: Report Your Robin Sightings >>
  • Observing: Winter Robins: Six Photo Studies >>
  • Predicting (Lesson): Testing a Temperature Theory About Robin Migration >>

More Robin Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next American Robin Migration Update Will Be Posted on *March 4, 2008 (*data only).