Robin Migration Update: April 22, 2014
Please Report
Your Sightings!

From south to north, observers report robins in various stages of migration and nesting. On this Earth Day, we dig into the robin food chain and the web of life.

Report Includes:

Image of the Week
Robin with mud in her beak

Got Mud?

Photo: Wayne Kryduba
News: Action in Canada

In this late spring, many robins are still traveling to the places they will nest. In all categories, most of the reports came from Canada. The breeding cycle is underway in places where robins are on territory. Singing robins were reported as far north as 61.68, in Palmer, Alaska, and nesting became the leading category of reports.

  • "I heard a robin singing a dawn song today. I didn't see it, but the song is unmistakable."
    Palmer, AK (April 18)
  • "The first nest is completed... waiting for the eggs."
    St-Alphonse-de-Granby, PQ (April 21)

Song or Wave? Winter or Spring?
This late spring has caught robins in the storm zone of colliding seasons, raising questions about what we see:

  • "Walked into the parking lot after school and heard the singing. Glanced across the back alley and counted 27 robins sitting in two trees! Spring is sprung, BUT it's still snowing here! Saskatoon,, SK (April 16)
  • The trees were again filled with Robins on April 14 and all were singing. The weather was nice but two days later winter returned with winter storm warnings, snow and cold temps (again).
    Lewistown, MT (April 14)

In these two reports, robins are not really singing on territory yet, but are getting VERY stirred up hormonally. Each bird is in advanced stages of the hormonal changes that come with spring and needing to be establishing a territory. At the very same time they are suffering all the dire food needs of late winter, when the ground is still cold and they need to be in cooperative mode to feed on fruit. "It must feel very frustrating for them," notes ornithologist Laura Erickson. "ONE of those robins will actually be the male who sticks around and keeps the territory. The others will give up and move on."

Robin in spring in pine tree
Photo: Robert Dewing
Good Choice
Robin nest with eggs
Photo: L. Birnbaum
Why Blue?
Robin eating fruit
Photo: Randy Indish


Article: A Food Chain Mystery

With Earth Day coming, let's dig into the robin food chain and find out what writer Rachel Carson revealed. You'll see why we—and all birds—are forever thankful to her!

Robin with a mouthful of insects to eat.
Image: Randy Indish
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Maps: Report Your Sightings
Robin Migration: What to Report Robin Migration Map: First Robin Robin Migration Map: Waves of Robins
What to Report First Seen
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Robin migration map: First robins heard singing Robin Nesting Behavior Earthworm migration map
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Next Update: April 29, 2014