Teachers Journey North Home Robin Home Page Students Robin Home Page

Teacher Tips for Winter: Where Are Our Robins?
Booklet Version and Print-and-Fold Instructions


Make Predictions: What do you think robins do in winter, wherever they are? When will we see robins where we live?


Critical Thinking. Discuss:
• How are robins able to live in many places in winter? (They can live where they find food, even if it's cold.)
Why is winter such an important feeding time for robins? (Males must eat enough to stay strong and reach the nesting areas early so they can compete for best territories. Females myb arrive healthy enough to lay eggs and raise young.) Do you think winter is a more important feeding time for robins than summer is? (In summer, hunting for food and feeding their babies is probably more important.)
How do you think robins stay warm in very cold weather? (A bird's feathers are its best defense against cold weather. Robins fluff their plumage to create tiny air spaces that improve insulation. Birds also preserve warmth on cold nights by huddling together in large numbers. These birds are mostly strangers drawn together by the need for warmth. Some birds who gather on cold evenings seem to follow a leader who knows a snug nook. The birds attract other bedfellows with songs and calls; the more birds in the huddle, the warmer they all will be. But there's another risk for birds that cluster close together in tight spaces in cold weather. Those on the bottom or inner circle of a mass of feathers may suffocate. Those on the outside of the circle may use up the last of their depleted energy trying to gain a better position.
Make Connections:

•The robin's success in the summer breeding season depends on starting out right, with a good territory. What have you done for a project or job to make sure you get a good start for later success?
Discuss how humans, like robins, go where they can get what they need to survive and thrive. What do your parents look for? Write your thoughts in your journal, or discuss as a class.


In-depth Lessons:
• All Eyes on a Robin (Journey North for Kids)
• Bird Bath Buddies (Journey North for Kids)
•When Will Our Robin Habitat be Ready?
• Spring Phenology of Robins
• Recognizing a Good Territory From Above
• What Do Robins Eat in Winter?
• A Robin's Menu Through the Seasons
• Which Senses Do Robins Use to Find Worms? Dr. Heppner's Experiment

Play a Game: Play Name That Tune

Journal: What are at least two behaviors you would see in winter robins that you won't see in robins during breeding and nesting season? Explain.