Robin Migration Update: February 25, 2014
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Peak migration month is just around the corner: It's time to print out the observation checklist, sharpen your listening skills, and get your questions ready for robin expert Laura Erickson.

Report Includes:

Image of the Week
Robins flock to water.

Spring Splash

Image: Sandy Nyeholt
News: Flocks Filling the Map

March is the month of peak robin migration. While our lion-like winter has slowed progress, the map shows more WAVES of robins (groups of 3 to hundreds), and a few more FIRST robins in the north. Robins are distributed across a large part of their range; next we'll see the abundance of robins shift dramatically as spring migration begins. Winter behavior still dominates: flocking, feeding, and flying. But singing to defend a territory? Not quite yet.

Wave or Song?
Robins are getting noisier as daylight increases and hormone levels rise: "Lots of singing and eating this morning. It sounds like Spring!" exclaim
s one observer. 

Robins get more and more vocal throughout migration season. If you're hearing a lot of sounds at once that include the true song and dawn song but are mostly peeks and tuts, you are still hearing the last robins of winter and not the first robin of spring. How will you know whether to report WAVE or SINGING? Any time you see or hear three or more robins together, please report in the wave category.

First Robin Singing?
Certainly you may hear little snippets of the true song as robins start getting revved up for spring. However, mostly it'll be peek-and-tut and other vocalizations or alarm calls as the restlessness increases with breeding season coming. Males when in full song are in a place they are claiming as their own.

Robins, when in a flock, cannot be too territorial or they'll start to fight. No single robin has the power to chase away all those other robins who are there to find food and water.

What to Watch For
Share this helpful checklist with your family, friends, and neighbors. Ask everyone to observe and report!

Berries and fruits are a robin's winter diet.
Photo: Linda Schmidt
Berry Binge
Flocking is typical winter robin behavior.
Photo: Christina Westley
Noisy Flocks
Spring phenology checklist for robins
Ask the Expert: Starts February 28

What do you wonder about robins? Look through the images in this photo gallery to help you brainstorm a list of questions for our robin expert, Laura Erickson, who just became the first woman to win the American Birding Association’s highest honor: the Roger Tory Peterson Award. Congratulations to Laura on this sky-high honor! Ask the Expert will be open from February 28 to March 14.

Gallery of Robin photos
Maps: Report Your Sightings
Robin Migration: What to Report Robin Migration Map: First Robin Robin Migration Map: Waves of Robins
What to Report First Seen
map | list
map | list
Robin migration map: First robins heard singing Robin Nesting Behavior Earthworm migration map
map | list
map | list
map | list
Next Update: March 4, 2014