Analyzing Weather and Robin Migration

Are robins fair weather flyers or do they need a good push from behind? Which temperatures get them up and out? Why not use your sharp eyes and minds to figure out how different weather factors affect robin migration!

Over the next few weeks, save the daily weather maps from your newspaper. (Or download WWW-based daily weather maps.) Watch where robins are reported in Journey North Updates and see if you can discover any relationships between weather and robin migration. Ask yourselves these kinds of questions:

  • Do robins seem to fly when it's cloudy or clear?
  • Do they seem to respond to wind direction or speed? How?
  • How do they respond to cold fronts? What about the storms associated with low pressure systems?
  • Do temperatures seem to influence their migration?
  • What general statements can we make about weather and robin migration?

Try This!
  • Working in teams or individually, try to identify how weather patterns or systems might affect how far robins will migrate this week. At the end of the week, study the new migration map. Which team most closely predicted the week's migration? Which weather factors were most useful for predicting it?
  • Pay close attention to the weather in your area. Each day, record the following data for your city or town:
    • wind direction and speed
    • barometric pressure
    • temperature
    • sky conditions
    • rainfall
  • What is the weather like the first day your robins appear? Can you pose any hypotheses from your data? How would you test them?
  • List as many reasons as you can to explain why robins time their migrations as they do.

National Science Education Standards

  • Ask a question about objects, organisms, events. (K-4)
  • Use data to conduct a reasonable explanation. (K-4)
  • Organisms have basic needs. (K-4)
  • The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues and by external cues (K-4)
  • Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons. (K-4)

National Geography Standards

  • How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information.