Robin Migration Update: April 24, 2012
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
Students in Shageluk, Alaska welcomed the first robins to reach the end of the migration trail! Nests make news in other places, as seen in our new photo gallery. Explore the nesting cycle. Who's doing all the work? Sort the chores of robin males and females, then decide which you'd rather be.

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Robin carries nest materials to nest site.
Photo: Wayne Kryduba
Building a Nursery
News: What's Happening Now & What to Watch For

What's Happening Now
Robins have reached the end of the migration trail! From our northernmost observation post in Shageluk, AK comes the happy news:

Dear Journey North,
We are SO EXCITED to be able to report our FIRST ROBIN was seen Friday, April 20, 2012! We have had nice warm temps (50s) the past two weeks despite the fact that we still have TWO FEET of snow and our lakes and rivers are still solidly frozen.

Although we haven't seen many Robins since then, we know they are here. People in Shageluk believe that some of the first birds are scouts for the other birds that come. I know the Robin we saw was sitting on the very top of a birch tree singing his heart out! That can only mean that he is saying, "I am here, Shageluk, this is where I live!"

We are so happy to have our Robins back! We are anxious for the snows to melt and happy for spring. We hope you are enjoying the weather where you are, too.

Joyanne Hamilton, Innoko River School, Shageluk, Alaska

Which Northern Observation Posts are still waiting?


What to Watch For

Nesting activity is heating up. It's a thrill to find where birds are nesting, but observe from a safe distance and let the birds to their thing. It's amazing!

  • At 44 degrees N in Barrie, ON: We have a nest! Two days ago, we observed a female with nesting material and carefully watched where she went with it. Today we peeked, and there is a beautiful nest under our neighbour's deck. No eggs yet.
  • At 43 degrees N in Michigan: We have our first robin's egg. I have surveillance cameras up by the nest so we can watch the progress. Yesterday our mother Robin (we've named her Evelyn after my grandmother) laid her first egg.

Image of this week's journal page handout
Data/Journal Page
Male and female robin
Photo: Elizabeth Howard

Abigail's Sighting: Pair?

Robin with mud in her beak
Photo: Wayne Kryduba
Mud is Important
Preening male robin
Photo: Don Severson
Comfy & Safe: Clues
Explore: Robin Nesting Cycle

Go Lay An Egg!
The main purpose of a robin's life is to make more robins. Migration, territory, courtship, nest building, egg laying, incubation, and care of the young—all are parts of the breeding cycle. These events happen so robins can pass their genes on to new generations. That's what robins are doing now!

Teaching Suggestion: Use the Gallery as photo prompts to showcase students' observation and descriptive writing skills.



Concept Chart
What questions do you have about the nesting cycle of robins? Use this concept chart to organize your questions about each stage of the cycle. Then take our research challenge!

Research Challenge
In the same amount of time it takes for robins to collect twigs, construct nests, and raise babies, how many facts can you collect about their nesting cycle? As your backyard robins work to ensure a new generation, construct a nonfiction selection by weaving together the facts you collected. Pass on fascinating facts about the nesting cycle of robins by sharing your writing project with others. Use the links below to get started:


Gallery of photos showing robin building a nest
Images: Wayne Kryduba
Robins Build A Nest
Image of Concept Chart
Research: Compare Division of Labor
Who do you think does more work in raising young, the robin male or the female? Which robin takes more risks, the male or the female? Which robin would you rather be: a male or female?

Create a venn diagram to compare the division of labor for robins to another species, such as whooping cranes or hummingbirds, as they incubate and raise their young.

Image of Chore Chart for Raising Robins
Latest Maps: Where Are Robins Now?
The picture of migration 2012 is almost complete! These maps show where people have reported robins and earthworms. Patterns emerge as citizen scientists report their observations. Singing robins reveal the temperature patterns of North America as we hear reports of robins singing at higher latitudes and at higher elevations.

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

Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts
Will you take a few minutes to complete our Year-end Evaluation? With your help, we can we document Journey North's reach, impact and value. We need comments like yours to keep the program going and growing.

Image link to Year-End Evaluation
The next Robin migration update will be posted on May 1, 2012.