What's Up With Neighborhood Robins?
Being a Good Observer

Photo: Wayne Kryduba

Robins in backyards, schoolyards, and parks are easy to spot and fun to observe. And the more you observe, the more you wonder, just like scientists do. Armed with an armload of questions, you can dig deeper to find answers and even set up your own experiments! To get started, follow these steps:

Observe Carefully, Ask Questions

  1. When you notice a robin (or robins) out and about in your backyard, schoolyard, or a local park, sit quietly and observe and listen for five minutes. (Make sure you have something to write with and a journal, notebook, or paper and clipboard.)
  2. One one side of a page, write down what you notice and hear, draw some sketches, or both.
  3. On the other side of the page, write down questions you have about what you observed or other things you wonder about the robin(s).
  4. Observe for a few more minutes. Try to make at least one new observation and come up with three more questions. What new things did you notice this time?

Try to Find Answers

  1. Choose one of your questions that you can answer by making more observations or conducting an experiment. Ask your teacher for help planning and setting up your investigation. Here are some examples:

    "How many eggs does a robin lay?"
    "What different things do robins eat?"
    "Will robins use yarn in their nests if I leave it out?"
    "Do robins sing more at one time of day?"

  2. Choose another one of your questions that you can answer by doing research in books or on the Internet, and then dig in!
  3. Choose another one of your questions that you think only an expert can answer! First search Journey North's Frequently Asked Questions about robins. If that doesn't help, visit Meet the Expert.

Learn More About Robins!
You probably still have plenty of questions. Here are some Journey North pages you can visit to dig deeper:

National Science Education Standards

Science as Inquiry

  • Ask a question about objects, organisms, events. (K-4)
  • Plan and conduct a simple investigation. (K-4)
  • Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations. (5-8)
  • Design and conduct a scientific investigation. (5-8)