Welcoming Spring

March 19, 2021 by Team Journey North

Spring officially begins on Saturday, March 20. With the breeding season fast approaching, American Robins are spreading out across North America. Report your observations to Journey North.

“Robins started appearing in our neighborhood around 3-2-21, now we are seeing groups. The pictured one was feeding on a worm in my backyard as part of a group of 4-5.” Photo by: Steve (Wichita, KS; 03/06/2021)

Moving North

As migration progresses, more Journey North citizen scientists are reporting American Robins. From Alabama to Alberta, American Robins are a welcome sign that spring is here.

Ellen in Eau Claire, WI: “I saw a robin drinking from the bird bath in my neighbor’s yard. It sat for a long time while I snapped some pictures.” (03/11/2021)

Linda in Windsor, ON: “About 21 or more in a large field across the street.” (03/12/2021)

Fala in Ashland, AL: “About a dozen or more in the yard together, and more down the driveway. This is the most I have seen this year. Photo attatched is one of the many we saw.” (03/14/2021)

Frank in Macomb, MI: “There were 5 robins that came and took a bath in my pond.” (03/16/2021)

Donna in Calgary, AB: “WooooHoooo!! First robin sighting on top of an evergreen tree. What a welcome sight!!!” (03/17/2021)

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 tomorrow, 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 the wave of spring migration reaches you. Report under the category: Robin (First HEARD singing).

Robert in Absecon, NJ: “A few are out looking for worms and saw/heard one male singing “True Song” while sitting on a tree limb.” (03/11/2021)

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)

Rudy in Candor, NY: “We have seen as many as 24 pairs working and building nests in our ash and pine trees surrounding our pond and on the outer edges of our pastures.” (03/17/2021)

Special Report

Jeanne in Kalamazoo, MI: “Leucistic robin.” (02/26/2021)

Jeanne captured a fantastic photo of a leucistic robin. Leucism is a genetic condition which prevents pigments from reaching some or all of a bird’s feathers. Leucistic robins tend to have white splotches on their feathers, but the eyes and skin remain their normal color. 

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.