Signs of Spring

March 1, 2022 by Team Journey North

March is here. American Robin migration peaks this month. Increasing daylight length triggers robins' internal clock and urges them to head north with the breeding season fast approaching.

“First seen at this location in lawn and on the deck, where they can access water from birdbath.” Photo: Wade in Martinsburg, WV (02/19/2022)

Robin Activity Is Picking Up

Across North America, Journey North volunteers are observing an influx of American Robins as they start to move north and settle into breeding territories. As the days get longer and snow cover melts away, watch for American Robins to diversify their diet and look for protein-rich food sources such as earthworms.

Andrew in Saginaw, MI: “About 12 American Robins singing and eating berries.” (02/21/2022)

Diane in Soquel, CA: “Between 50-100 Robins arrived in he morning causing a great stir in the riparian corridor of Soquel Creek.” (02/26/2022)

Not all American Robins migrate. Some remain in place throughout the winter months. During this early period of migration, please share if you think you’ve observed a migrating robin or a winter resident. And if you’re uncertain, please let us know.

West Hartford, CT: “Seems spring is soon coming. Today a group of over 20 birds gathering on the ground for the first time this season. Nevertheless they never completely left since I kept making observation throughout the Fall and now, still Winter, but not as many as today.” (02/22/2022)

Spring Migration: What to Report

A note about reporting wave observations: A wave is three or more American Robins. If your first observation of the season is three or more individuals, please report under Robin (WAVE seen); if your first observation is one or two individuals, please report under Robin (First SEEN).

Reports should always include an estimate of how many Americans Robins you observed. Photos are helpful as you can use them to count. It is hard to count birds – we are not asking for an official number, just an estimate. 

Journey North American Robin reporting categories review:

  • First Robin: Report the first American Robin you observe. These observations reveal the leading edge of the migration. Report under the category: Robin (First SEEN)
  • Waves of Robins: A wave is three or more robins. Report under the category: Robin (WAVE seen)
  • First Singing Robin: Report the first robin you hear singing. Male robins sing when they arrive to their breeding territory. Report under the category: Robin (First HEARD singing)
  • Nesting Behaviors: Watch for signs such as the male or female flying with nest materials, or the female with mud on breast. Both gather nest materials but usually only the female builds. Report under the category: Robin (Nesting Behavior)
  • Other Observations: Report observations such as courtship and territorial behavior. Report under the category: Robin (OTHER Observations)