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Explore Observations: Feb. 15, 2011

How do observers describe behaviors of robins traveling in groups called WAVES? Look for facts in the observations below. Think:

  • What can you KNOW from these observations? What can you assume or infer?
  • What do you wonder? Save your questions and "Ask the Expert" when it opens on March 4-18!

Journal Page
Read this week's robin sightings and record your thoughts:
How does traveling in groups (WAVES) help robins survive?

Observation Reports from Citizen Scientists

Florida: It looks like every robin in North America is in my yard.


Florida: 80 to 100 robins in our garden, scavenging in the winter debris. (Our garden is approx. 20 x 20 in size.)

Florida: Saw the edge of a robin wave, about 100+ in our side yard this afternoon with a small mix of a few cedar waxwings. I expect a larger group tomorrow. They come yearly to eat our palm berries. They are about 2 weeks "later" than usual.

Florida: Hundreds of Robins in my backyard trees this morning. They came about this time last year too. I never see Robins here in Florida, except this spring migration.


Florida: The annual migration wave of robins going north after the winter occurred here yesterday, 2/10/11. It is clear they stop here mostly because of the vast amounts of berries we have at this time on the camphor trees. We have only detected in this wave, the males. Do the females travel separately, or are we just not seeing them as they lack the distinctive color? (The robins seem to stay mostly at the top of the tall trees where most of the berries seem to be. They are VERY noisy - a kind of cheeping sound.

Florida: The robins are starting to wander around the state in very large numbers now and are very vocal. About 1,000 have been traveling around my 'hood eating primarily Cherry Laurel berries along with about 30 Cedar Waxwings. So far I have heard one bird actually attempt to do a semblance of a song, a bit short yet, but it won't be long.

Robin counts were quite low on the Christmas Bird Counts in our state but now everyone is reporting how many robins they are seeing. My theory is that robins aren't in really huge flocks until they start gathering in numbers to hunt food for the journey north: More eyes find more food.

Florida: We observed a large wave of robins, well over 100 birds—the first robin sighting we have seen this spring. We have never seen a wave this large, it was a great experience. Many birds were in the water bathing; others were in our Live Oak trees and the sky was filled with birds. Their breasts were of brighter orange than usual. They were quite plump and healthy looking. This was a sighting I shall always remember.

Look for more descriptions of flocking behaviors.