Robin Migration Update: March 12, 2013
Please Report
Your Sightings!

With robins returning, it's time to salute another sign of spring: the lowly earthworm. They migrate only a few feet, but the timing of their arrival makes earthworms the unsung heroes of robin migration.

This Week's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
Robin pulls a worm out of the ground

Switching Diets

Image: Wayne Kryduba
Migration News: Storm Stalls Progress

What's Happening Now

Reports of robins singing are starting to increase! People saw their first robins even though last week's lion of a winter storm marched in and stalled a push northward. "Bad day to show up," said a New Jersey observer on March 8 when he reported lots of robins all over in the snow. But the week also brought a few reports like these:

  • Cincinnati, Ohio: Second graders at Vermont School wrote: "Our class has been watching for robins outside. Yesterday we were off of school because we had a snow day. A lot of children were outside playing in the snow, and together we saw 22 robins. We hope this means that spring is right around the corner."
  • Quincy, Mass: "We observed 4 robins just bobbing around on our front lawn, Tuesday, at early (12 noon) dismissal. Can't be long until spring now!" exclaimed fourth graders at Monclair Elementary School.
  • Streator, IL: Robins "hopping along the grass looking for worms after the big rain here," reported Ogle Academy Homeschool.


What to Watch For:

March is a time of dramatic change. What is your locale's average temperature now? When will the ground thaw and earthworms appear where YOU live? When will your backyard robins arrive? As the snow melts and the sun warms the soil, watch how—and where—robins find earthworms. Robins know that earthworms will wriggle to the surface where the soil is soft, wet and warm enough. Get ready:

Robins drinking water on snowy day
Image:Val Cunningham
Snowy Days
Robins hunting for worms in a grassy strip where snow has melted
Image: H. Nofz
Hunting Zone
Journal page: Compare maps of earthworms and temperature

Slideshow: The Earthworms and Robins Return

The arrival of the first robins is a welcome sign of spring, and is often closely tied to the appearance of the first earthworms. Find out how closely the two are connected as you explore this week's slideshow and resources:



Slideshow title page: Welcome Spring! The Earthworms and Robins Return
Latest Maps: Where Are Robins Now?

These maps show where people reported earthworms and robins. Patterns emerge as citizen scientists report their observations. What do you notice this week as you compare where robins are singing with first robin sightings and earthworm sightings?

Robin Migration Map: First Robin Robin Migration Map: Waves of Robins Robin migration map: First robins heard singing Earthworm migration map
First See
Report Your Sightings! What, Where & How
First robin of spring Waves of robins Singin robin First earthworm of spring
The First Robin You

Robins migrating in Waves

The First Robin You
Hear Singing

Your first sighting of Earthworms

The next robin migration update will be posted March 19, 2013.