Robin Migration News: April 13, 2016
By Rita Welch

In a slow week for migration with record cold temperatures and snowfalls, robins are still en route to the northern end of their summer breeding range. Meanwhile, nesting activity is being reported where robins are on territory.

"On April 3rd, we had 6 inches of snow and this robin sat at our heated birdbath,
drinking water and warming his feet," wrote Gloria Utzig from Massachusetts.

Slowed by Wintry Weather

Robins are scattered all over the continent with reports from Texas to Saskatchewan and from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, but have not yet pushed into their northernmost summer grounds of 60°+ latitude. Many are still traveling to the places they will nest, slowed by wintry weather again this week.

"Snow covers much of the ground after a snowstorm two days ago, but with moderate temperatures today, robins found an open area. I saw 12 or more foraging for food on the wet grass," wrote Donna from New York on April 6th.

"I haven't seen a robin in the city yet. They should be here any time now because the snow is gone and we have had a very mild couple of weeks," wrote Margot, an official Northern Observation Post reporter from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.

Nesting Behaviors
Observers from Pennslyvania, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Ontario reported nesting behavior this past week.

"In spite of the weather swings — sunny and mild to windy, wet and cold — the robins are collecting grasses from the yard," reported Pat from Menomonie, Wisconsin on April 4th.

"A robin has been building a nest in a red maple. Actually, it has been trying to build one since Monday, but the wind kept blowing it away. The nest that is now almost finished is the third. Interestingly, it has been using old cornstalks from a nearby field to form the bulk of the nest. Dry grass and some feathers seem to line the nest," wrote Robert from Newville, Pennsylvania on April 9th.

A beakful of dried grasses and mud on the breast feathers...
Are you seeing signs of nest building? Let us know!

Building a Nest
Mud + dead grass + worms = ideal conditions for nesting. A robin collects about 350 dried fibers of grass and small twigs that are about 6 inches long. After a soaking rain, the robin collects mud and travels to and from the nest several hundred times with beakfuls of mud. Next, the robin weaves the grasses together, cementing them to each other and to the supporting branch or windowsill. Finally, the robin lines the inside with the soft grasses and fibers to keep the eggs warm and protect them from sharp twigs or grasses.

Explore: Nesting Cycle

Lori from Melbourne, Kentucky shared a photo of a robin's nest with 4 eggs on April 1, 2016. When will the eggs hatch and nestlings emerge? Collect facts about the nesting cycle. Construct an article by weaving together facts you gather.




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Robin Migration: What to Report Robin Migration Map: First Robin Robin Migration Map: Waves of Robins
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Robin migration map: First robins heard singing Robin Nesting Behavior Earthworm migration map
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Next Update April 20, 2016