Robin Migration Update: April 3, 2012
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
Robins are arriving and even singing at higher latitudes in Canada and Alaska. Three states have reported nesting! Robins instinctively know how to build perfect nurseries. But how will this robin decide where to build the nest? Become a robin and build a nest with this week's plans!

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Robin with a beak full of nesting materials
Photo: Wayne Kryduba
Where To?
News: What's Happening Now & What to Watch For

What's Happening Now
No April fooling: Robins began to sing this week way up in Canada at latitude 49N! in fact, all but two of this week's 10 singing reports were in Alaska or Canada, as well as all but two of this week's "first" robin reports. Only six of our Northern Observation Posts are still awaiting their first robin as April begins.

Spring's race continues in the lower 48, too: The first nesting reports have already been posted for Arkansas, Michigan, and Ohio.

How do the following observations show that robins return when their habitat is ready? What spring behaviors do these reports describe?

  • Alberta, April 2: This wave involved about 200 individuals; they arrive and assemble in trees and back lane puddles; males are singing in what I would describe as social, rather than breeding communication.
  • Saskatchewan, April 1: Scores of robins were a welcome sight this morning!
  • Minnesota, March 29: Huge flock hopping around in a heavy downpour in a field nearby! Seemed to be hundreds—largest wave I've seen!
  • Connecticut, March 29: Flocks of up to 15 robins spent much of the afternoon foraging on the lawn. They'd scatter when I opened the front door, but resumed their hunt for food soon after. Rain the day before had brought earthworms to the surface, as shown by the numerous holes in the ground, but the robins seemed to be eating other things as well.
  • New York, March 21: The female robins are here. I just saw a male and female robin foraging in my yard together. Males do not tolerate each other anymore. Singing is reaching full intensity.
What to Watch For
Watch the map in coming days and you'll see that singing robins reveal the temperature patterns of our continent. We'll hear reports of robins singing at higher latitudes and at higher elevations.

Predict when the first 'gah-non-da-doy' (robins) will reach interior Alaska by examining dates of "first" robins there for the past 15 years. We'll be waiting along with the students at Innoko River School to find out the date of the first robin of spring 2012!

Female robin
Photo: Don Severson
Male or Female?
Male robin in attack mode
Photo: Andy Wilson
Mystery Fight
Albino robin
Photo: Barb Beilfuss
A White Robin?
Picture of this week's handout
Predict: Handout
Activity: Build a Robin's Nest
Some robins will build 20 or even 30 nests over their lifetimes. Instinct tells them how to build the perfect structure to hold the eggs they're about to lay. The perfect robin nest must serve as a snug baby cradle to keep the eggs and babies warm, dry, and safe. It must also have room for the mother robin to hunker down to incubate her young. How do they build such a terrific cradle? Give it a try with human-made blueprints! Robin nest in evergreen tree
Photo: Wayne Kryduba
Safe, Cool, Comfortable
Latest Maps & Journal: Where Are Robins Now?
These maps show where people have reported robins and earthworms. Patterns emerge as citizen scientists report their observations. Robins return when their habitat is ready!
Robin Migration Map: First Robin Robin Migration Map: Waves of Robins Robin migration map: First robins heard singing Earthworm migration map
First See

Report Your Sightings! What, Where & How
First robin of spring Waves of robins Singin robin First earthworm of spring
The First Robin You

Robins migrating in Waves

The First Robin You
Hear Singing

Your first sighting of Earthworms

The next Robin migration update will be posted on April 10, 2012.