Finding Water
March 8, 2017 by Rita Welch

Drinking, bathing, and hunting — migrating robins need water.

Robin in the Rain
Photo: Edwin Mongeni
  Robin in the rain, such a saucy fellow.
Robin in the rain, mind your socks of yellow.

Robin in the Rain by Claire Senior Burke, sung by Raffi.
Finding Water for...

Water is important all year round — on the wintering and breeding grounds — and during migration. Flying is a thirst-making exercise!

Migrants traveling in flocks have many eyes searching for water. Puddles, bird baths, little streams, and other water sources are very appealing. Robins seem to prefer places that offer fresh water.

Robins also need water to stay clean. They take many short baths rather than one long soak. If the feathers got sopping wet, the robin would have trouble flying. A clean robin is a warm robin. Dirty feathers lose insulation properties. Watching a bird take a cold bath may make you shiver, but there's no need to worry.

Rain and snowmelt soften the soil for earthworms to emerge. Watch how robins search in places where snow has recently melted. These are favorite hunting zones during migration as robins transition their diet. When the rain comes at the same time the snow is melting, the worms come to the surface of the saturated ground and the robins have a banquet.

Got Water?
What water sources are your robins finding? Where are they drinking, bathing and hunting where you live?

Robins drinking from a puddle
Chris Taylor

Robin taking a bath
Marilyn Benham

Robins hunting along a zone of melted snow.
A. Nofz

Journal: Singing in the Rain

Create song lyrics that describe why migrating robins need water.

Robin Migration and Warm Spring Temperatures
Report Your Sightings
Robin Migration: What to Report Robin Migration Map: First Robin Robin Migration Map: Waves of Robins
What to Report First Seen
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Report | Map | List
Robin migration map: First robins heard singing Robin Nesting Behavior Earthworm migration map
Report | Map | List
Report | Map | List
Report | Map | List
Next Update March 15, 2017