Robins As Far North As Alaska

April 3, 2019 by Team Journey North

You can really see spring's arrival unfold across North America thanks to the reports from Journey North citizen scientists.

“Our first robin of the year…finally!” Photo by: Mike (Calgary, Alberta; 03/30/2019)

Arriving, Singing, and Settling In

You can really see spring’s arrival unfold across North America thanks to the reports from Journey North citizen scientists. Some of our Journey North volunteers rise very early in the morning to capture the song of Robins as they arrive in spring.

From Dolgeville, NY: Matthew “…got up this morning and sat in my car at 5:15am EDT. It was 54 degrees… At 5:27 the robins came alive with whinny calls. At 5:29 mild singing began. Finally, at 5:41, full blown singing spread across the listening area. It was pitch dark out. I began to ride my bicycle around to see what was going on. There was singing everywhere…” (03/31/2019)

Even though snow remains on the ground, American Robins are arriving and singing in more northern places, including Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska. Indeed, just in a period of four days, Journey North volunteers documented the arrival of Robins in four Canadian provinces: Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia. As the ground thaws in the southern United States, Journey North volunteers are observing that robins are shifting their food preference from berries to worms . 

From Juneau, AK:  Tina commented: Seems early for robins, but I have 2 in my yard.” (03/29/2019)

From Sundance, WY: Sandra noted, “Finally have robins showing up, still have a foot or 2 of snow in most places in the yard. Robins feeding under the feeders on the ground doing clean up.(03/22/2019)

From Thief River Falls, MN:  While Bill was busy tapping Maples for maple syrup, he spotted two males roosting in the crab apple tree. “I am sure breakfast will be frozen apple.” (03/27/2019)

From Town of Sparta, WI: Kathy exclaimed, “Glorious sight after long winter. Trying to dig for worms, with no success. 33 degrees out. Headed to 60 degrees later today. It may be successful then. After flooding last week, and more moderate temps, frost has left ground, especially in sunny locations. Melting snow is now being absorbed. (03/23/2019)

From Kenduskeag, ME:  Tina commented: Heard the clear sounds of a robin in my backyard cedar tree at 7:30 this morning. When I walked closer, this first arrival took flight. Welcome home!!” (03/28/2019)

Signs of Nest Building?

If your robins are singing, look for signs of nest building. Both males and females gather materials but usually only the female builds the nest. When the first females arrive, you’ll notice their plummage appears faded and drab in comparison to the male plumage. Let us know if you see a robin with a beakful of dried grasses or mud on her breast feathers.