Robin Migration Month Begins

March 3, 2023 by Team Journey North

March is the peak month for American Robin migration. Increasing day length triggers their internal clocks and urges them to head north with the breeding season fast approaching. Watch for a shift in robin behavior as the days lengthen, temperatures warm, and grounds thaw.

American Robin
Photo: Daniel in Riverside, CA (02/21/2023)

A Flurry of Activity

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 robins to diversify their diet and look for protein-rich food sources such as earthworms.

Barbara in Pacifica, CA: “First we noticed about 10 robins on our neighbor’s back lawn hunting for earthworms. Then we saw 8 in our tree and another 10 in a neighbor’s tree. More were swooping across our yard to/from large trees in nearby yards…” (02/20/2023)

Kathryn in Grass Lake, MI:…A flock all around, in the path and in the trees.” (02/16/2023)

Kris in Milwaukee, WI: “It’s the first large wave I’ve seen earlier had a few wave of 5-10 but this one came out of nowhere flying northeast towards the lake front…” (02/26/2023)

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 (could be an individual or a pair). 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)