Saturday, January 16, 2010

American Robin, Harbinger of Spring - Yes, But...

            American Robin in Durand, Wisconsin in January

I came across a small flock of American Robins down by the Chippewa River the other day.  They seemed to be reveling in the recent heat wave - the thermometer has been hovering around 33ºF.  

I guess if you're a bird and ya need a bath, and water is available - ya just gotta go with it.

Seeing them made me remember the old adages:  "When you see robins, spring is just around the corner" and "the early bird gets the worm."   

I also clearly remember the first time I spotted robins in a snowstorm.  

I was dumbstruck.  Maybe it isn't common knowledge that not all the American Robins migrate south in the fall.   Robins can be spotted in the continental US year-round.  

                                                        Christmas Bird Count Map - American Robin

Why do some robins forgo the migration?  And how does this popular thrush find "worms" to eat in the winter?

Robins don't eat worms in the winter.  Their diet is actually 60% fruit and 40% invertebrates.  

The robins who stay up north, "wander" as they look for fruits.  When these birds actually "leave," they usually don't go very far.   

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