Jan 3, 2014 | Featured Web Article

Robins, Robins, Everywhere!

The idea that robins are the first true sign of spring is somewhat mythical. American robins are surprisingly hardy as long as they have access to their winter food sources.
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If you thought robins were spring- and summer-only birds, think again. Depending on where in North America you reside, it is entirely possible you have these familiar thrushes in your neighborhood year-round.

American robins are surprisingly hardy as long as they have access to their winter food sources: fruits. They switch over in winter from their mostly insect-based summer diet. As such, robins are facultative migrants. This means that they will migrate only as far south as they need to or are forced to by bad weather or food shortages. During ice storms, when fruits are covered in a thick coating of ice, many robins flock together and move south. In the same way, if a robin spends the winter in your region, it's probably because there's enough food to see it through.

If your backyard is void of robins this season, check out a nearby woodland area where berries are plentiful. You may find dozens, if not hundreds, of overwintering robins.

The idea that robins are the first true sign of spring is somewhat mythical. In much of northern North America, especially in the northern United States, a few robins overwinter, but they stick to woods and thickets where they can find fruit. Most backyard bird watchers do notice the robins' return when these birds appear on lawns with the onset of warm weather, seeking their warm-weather food: earthworms, grubs, caterpillars, and other insects.

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