Robin Migration Update: April 16, 2013
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
Robins have arrived in the Yukon, while large flocks in Minnesota are surprising observers. As Earth Day nears, let's dig into the robin food chain and see what Rachel Carson revealed about the web of life.

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Male robin
Photo: Don Severson
I'm Home!
News: A Slow Week

What's Happening Now
Robins arrived in the Yukon! In mid-continent US, many places are still in the grip of stubborn wintery weather. Only four new song reports were added to the map this week, and just 20 new firsts. Four of the five wave reports were from Minnesota. Elsewhere, observers reported robins battling over territories, digging for worms, and gathering nesting materials. Some highlights:

"We've seen pairs of male robins battling over territory several times this morning. A robin was also scaring away black capped chickadees from our lawn where they were foraging for food!" Grade 3, Ansel Academy, Pella, Iowa (April 10)

"I saw two robins in my yard picking up sticks and grass. They flew off with these materials I think to build a nest." Zachary, Gr. 3/4, Moun Calvary Lutheran School, Appleton, Wisconsin (April 11)

"Saw three different robins today that were carrying around beaks full of straw and nesting material." Jean, Troupsbrurg, New York, (April 13)

"Observed two Robins this afternoon collecting grass, sticks and mud from the ditch at the road. Males becoming territorial with occasional fighting." Carol, Petrolia, Ontario, (April 15)

What to Watch For

  • Some Northern Observation Posts are still waiting.
  • Robins already singing on territory at lower latitudes will be gathering nesting materials. Report nesting observations to the map!
Animated map comparing first robins this week last year to this week in 2013.
First Sightings
Waave of robins in wintery weather
Photo: Denise Thomas
Waves in Minnesota
Photo: Lisa Sullivan
In the Schoolyard

Explore: A Food Chain Mystery
The next time you hear robins singing or see them hunting for food in your backyard, thank Rachel Carson. Her 1962 book, Silent Spring, alerted the world to possible dangers of pesticides. "We spray our elm trees and the following springs are silent of robin song—not because we sprayed the robins directly but because the poison traveled..." With Earth Day coming, let's dig into the robin food chain and find out what Rachel Carson revealed. You'll see why we—and all the birds—are forever thankful to her!

Robin with a mouthful of insects to eat.

Photo: Randy Indish
A Food Chain Mystery
The Migration: Maps and Journal
These maps show where people reported earthworms, robins and robin nesting behaviors. Patterns emerge as citizen scientists report their observations. Journal: What do you notice as you compare first robins this year with last year?
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 23, 2013