Robin Migration Update: April 9, 2013
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
Migration is in various phases as a late spring works into April. Four states have reported nesting! How do robins decide where to build? Analyze data to predict when robins will reach the end of the trail.

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Robin with a beak full of nesting materials
Photo: Wayne Kryduba
Building Materials
News: Robin Chorus Spreads
What's Happening Now
Reports of first songs are steadily coming in. Another 25 were added to the map this week, with 11 from Canada and Alaska. First sightings of robins in higher elevations are being reported—even when they still meet up with snow! Meanwhile, robins on territory are starting to nest.

  • Southpark, Pennsylvania: "The weather finally warmed and I am seeing Robins picking through straws and sticks in the garden they are also pulling strings from the fence I used to support tomatoes last year."
  • Juneau, Alaska (NOP): "Yeah, finally a robin songster—a bit timid yet, but practice makes perfect."
  • Lewistown, Montana (NOP): "This morning (April 8) we have had 6 inches of snow so far, with cold temps and chill factors near 0 degrees. A far cry from the 60-degree weekend temps. Winter is not over yet."

What to Watch For

  • Do singing robins reveal the temperature patterns of our continent as they migrate with the 36-degree isotherm?
  • Robins already singing on territory at lower latitudes will be gathering nesting materials.

When will robins reach the end of the trail?
When will the first 'gah-non-da-doy' (robin) reach interior Alaska and our northernmost NOP? Students at Innoko River School —our northernmost observation post—wonder when they will see their first robin of spring 2013. The school has kept dates of "first" robins there for the past 16 years. Examine the data and join them in making a prediction for spring's first robin at the end of the trail!

Shageluk, Alaska: Teacher Joyanne Hamilton reports: "No robins yet. This past week temperatures averaged about 24 F. Snow is still about 72 inches deep in most spots. Our sunrise is now 7:45 am and sunset 9:37 pm, so days are getting LONNNGER. Nice!"

Robin on branch with buds
Photo: Charles Russell
Finally Here!
Robin on Sumac
Photo: Elizabeth Howard
Bringing Spring?
image of handout
Predict: Handout

Which other Northern Observation Posts are still waiting?
Article: Build a Robin's Nest
Some robins will build 20 or even 30 nests over their lifetimes. Instinct tells them how to build the perfect structure to hold the eggs they're about to lay. The perfect robin nest must serve as a snug baby cradle to keep the eggs and babies warm, dry, and safe. It must also have room for the mother robin to incubate her young. How do they build such a terrific cradle? Give it a try with human-made blueprints!

Robin nest in evergreen tree
Image: Tom Grey

The Migration: Maps
These maps show where people reported earthworms, robins and robin nesting behaviors. Patterns emerge as citizen scientists report their observations. What do you notice this week as you compare where robins first sang with where robins are doing nesting behaviors?
Robin Migration Map: First Robin Robin migration map: First robins heard singing Map showing robin nesting behaviors Map showing where  robin nesting behaviors observed
First See
Nesting Behaviors
Report Your Sightings! What, Where & How
First robin of spring
Singin robin
First earthworm of spring
Robin gathers grass for nest
The First Robin You
The First Robin You
Hear Singing
Your first sighting of Earthworms
Robins doing
Nesting Behaviors
Next update April 16, 2013