Report the First Robin You HEAR Singing

Robins sing when they arrive on their breeding territories. You know YOUR neighborhood robin has arrived when the singing male wakes you up at dawn, and sings continually. This clear change makes robin song is the simplest way to track spring robin migration.

Get ready to report the first robin you hear singing:

1. Listen & Learn
2. Practice
3. Report

Learn the Robin's True Song

Learn the sound of the robin's true song. Listen until you know it by heart.

Robin song courtesy of Lang Elliott

Name that Tune

Practice Listening. The true song is different from the calls and chatters robins make in their flocks. Robins have at least 6 different vocalizations. Listen up so you'll know the robin's true song when you hear it. Try "Name That Tune."

Report Your Observation

Report the first robin you HEAR singing this spring!

Important Notes to Help You:

In a classroom setting, each student should listen for — and report to the class— the first robin s/he hears singing. Accuracy is important, so teachers should verify observations. A teacher may collect all of the observations from the class and submit a single report; multiple reports are not as useful.

In many years, song reports will begin near the end of February; song reports should reach a peak during the month of March.

Robins sometimes sing before and during migration. This is when they switch from winter feeding and flocking behaviors to spring migratory restlessness and territoriality. However, you can usually distinguish migrating robins from your local robins by watching their behavior: A single male who stays and sings all day long is almost certainly on its breeding territory.

While some robins may produce their first songs on their wintering grounds, the vast majority wait until they are actually back on territory before singing. (After all, the reason songs work so well for defending territories is that male robins feel stressed when hearing other robins sing—so any songs serves to break up winter and migratory flocks.