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Robins Reach the End of the Trail!

May 15, 2013

Ade' Journey North Students!

We are happy to tell you that our Gonandadoy (American Robins) are finally here! According to our local averaged data, they are over 2 weeks overdue! Hearing our first Robins of the spring can be tricky. Pine Grosbeaks have a similar lilting song. A territorial Robin, however, is very distinctive, and that's what I heard loud and clear this morning. The robin was singing, "I am here now! I own this area!" Our school is higher on a little hill and standing on the front steps you can hear them clearly from different locations. I heard several voices, actually from different areas around our village.

Late Spring
Like everywhere else in North America, we are having a very late spring. Our rivers and lakes are still locked in ice and snow. Spring thaw is happening, though, as the daytime temps reach 45 to 50 degrees F. Many of our creeks and sloughs have finally started to melt and run. Nights are still very cold. This morning as I walked to school on the frozen roads, temps were at 17 degrees F.

The songs of migratory geese, swans, cranes, a few sparrows and even some swallows have been filling the morning quiet for over a week now. We were more surprised that the swallows came. There are a few flying insects around, but not too many. I always tell my students that it seems like the day after you see your first mosquito, you'll see your first Swallow. I see it is so, again, this year. That's not a very scientific theory but it sure seems true to us.

Regarding the Isotherm theory of when Robins show up: Our average temp for the past two weeks has been 3a3 degrees F. Our average temp for the past 7 days has been 34 degrees. I don't know, Mr. Ornithologist, what do you think? Maybe I need a more accurate thermometer? 

It's been an interesting spring! We are happy to have the Robins back. I hope you all have a wonderful summer! Now, more melting, please!

Joyanne Hamilton
Innoko River School
Shageluk, Alaska

First Robin in Shageluk, AK
1997 April 20
1998 April 16
1999 April 27
2000 April 21
2001 May 8 (heard May 2)
2002 April 25 (heard Apr. 17)
2003 April 24
2004 April 23
2005 April 9
April 23
2007 April 22 (heard Apr. 20)
2008 April 21
2009 April 25
2010 April 26
2011 May 4 (heard May 1)
2012 April 20 (seen and heard)
2013 May 15