Robin Migration News: February 24, 2016
By Rita Welch

Winter behavior continues to dominate, but watch for a shift in robin behavior as day length increases, temperatures warm, snow melts and grounds thaw.

Robin in Winter
"Watched 6 robins land in a crabapple tree," reported an observer from Pennslyvania on February 18, 2016.

Getting Restless?
March is just around the corner and it's the peak month for robin migration. Increasing day length triggers the robin's urge to return north. As days get longer and warm temperatures melt snowcover, look for signs that robins are switching from their winter diet of berries to their spring diet of earthworms! Report what changes you are seeing and hearing in your backyard habitats.

"Large groups have been showing up on lawns and in trees. I have 7 water baths and robins are in every one at present. They are feeding off laurel cherries. I'd say there are about 200 around a six-house area. I haven't heard singing yet, but expect to soon," reports Meret Wilson from Florida.


Visit Lang Elliot's website to view video of robin sounds and calls. Link provided below.

Getting Noisy?
Are your robins getting noisier as day length increases and hormone levels rise? You may hear snippets of the true song as robins start getting revved up for spring. However, the sounds will mostly be peek-and-tut and other vocalizations or alarm calls as the restlessness increases with breeding season coming. Each sound or call has its own meaning, according to naturalist Lang Elliott, an authority on bird vocalizations:

  • True song is a territorial declaration.
  • Dawn song is another territorial declaration.
  • Peek-and-tut calls are heard in alarm situations.
  • A whinny sound is heard in mildly alarming situations.
  • A high-pitched seeeee call is given in response to the presence of an aerial predator.
  • A zeeeup call is a contact note heard mainly during migration.

Visit Lang Elliot's website and listen to his robin song and call recordings in the short video, American Robin: Harbinger of Spring.

Explore: Robin Vocalizations

Listen to Lang Elliot's collection of song and call recordings in the short video, American Robin, Harbinger of Spring. As you listen, what do you hear? What do you wonder?



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 March 2, 2016