Springtime Sightings

March 17, 2023 by Team Journey North

Spring officially begins on Monday, March 20. With the breeding season fast approaching, American Robins are spreading out across North America. Be on the lookout for robins foraging and nesting, and listen for their territorial song. Report your observations to Journey North.

“First sighting this year, one in tree singing, looked healthy”
Photo: John in Oakville, ON (03/09/2023)

Robins on the Rise

As spring migration progresses, more Journey North volunteers are reporting American Robins. From Maine to British Columbia, robins are a welcome sign that spring is around the corner.

Keith in San Antonio, TX: “I had seen one Robin the week before, which seemed odd, normally I see 3-4 at first of spring in our yard. But suddenly we had a “wave” of about 10 American Robins in the water feature “creek” in our back yard - the center of San Antonio, TX. They were joined by about 12 or so Cedar Wax Wings in the water, and all left after about 15 more minutes of splashing. It was great. Photo is a few of the birds in the “creek”.  (03/01/2023)

Heather in Waterloo, ON:Making sport with a worm before eating it. Poor worm made it through the winter to come to this! Almost all ground is covered with snow but for a few inches melted along the sunny edge of sidewalk. Temp -3’C, feels like -8’C with wind chill, sunny.” (03/08/2023)

Heidi in Cedar Rapids, IA: “Very happy to see the robins returning for a drink at my birdbath. NE Cedar Rapids” (03/10/2023)

A reminder about reporting first 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).

Listen for the Territorial Song

Male American Robins arrive first on breeding grounds and begin to mark their territory by singing. With spring beginning soon, get ready to listen for their territorial song (also known as the “True Song”). Tracking the first songs of males is a reliable way to predict when their spring migration reaches you. Report under the category: Robin (First HEARD singing).

Lisa in Caledonia, WI: “We’ve seen robins in the yard for about a week now, but haven’t heard one singing until this morning.” (03/09/2023)

Watch for Nesting Behavior

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)

Call for Photos

If possible, please include photos in your reports. Photos are always helpful; they aid in identification and shed light on behavior. It is hard to count birds – we are not asking for an official number, just an estimate.