When Will Robins Reach the End of the Trail?
Making Predictions for the Northern Observation Posts

Some robins migrate to North America's far north to breed. Because fewer people live in the more northern regions, we have found willing volunteers to watch for the robin's arrival there.

These sites are our official "Northern Observation Posts" (NOPs). While we wait for robins to reach the far north, make some predictions:

  • When will observers in the robin's northernmost breeding territories SEE their first robins this spring?
  • When will they HEAR their first robins this spring?

Laying the Groundwork

Prediction Log


1. Predict when robins will arrive and sing
Use your Prediction Log for the NOPs to record your predictions about when reporters at Journey North's Northern Observation Posts will (1) see the FIRST robins and (2) hear the first robin SONG.

2. Follow the news!
Keep an eye on the migration maps that feature the Northern Observation Posts. How did your predictions turn out? You may want to revise them as the season unfolds!

3. Revisit your predictions
As the robins move north and begin to sing, look back and your original predictions. Evaluate the robins' progress and make new predictions.

Discussion or Journaling Questions

  • How did your predictions compare with the actual dates of first robin sightings and songs at the NOPs? What factors might have influenced the actual dates?
  • Did you notice any pattern in the time span between the first arrivals and first songs? If so, how would you explain it?


Digging Deeper: Maps and Links to Explore

Today's Temperatures Across Canada

Snow and Ice Cover

Last Years' Migration Data

First Robins Seen

First Robin Song

What are the temperatures at the Observation Posts today? As you track these over the next few weeks, you may want to revise your predictions.

As you look at these current snow-cover maps, ask yourself, "Are robins likely to return here or begin singing yet? Why or why not?"

When did robins arrive at the NOPs last year? When did they start to sing? Do you think they will follow the same pattern this year? Why or why not? 

Experiment: Do robins follow temperature?

One theory says that robins migrate along with average temperatures of 36 degrees F. Before making your predictions, look at temperatures in the northern regions of North America. The map of global temperature shows average monthly temperatures throughout the year. Looking at it closely can help you make more accurate predictions about the arrival of robins at the Northern Observation Posts.

Map of Global Temperatures