Feb 19 2013

Robin Hiatus

Published by at 7:30 am under Migration,Songbirds

AAmerican Robin (photo by Chuck Tague)

Have you noticed?  There aren't many robins in Pittsburgh right now.

In December it was another story.  Every day I watched hundreds feast on the ornamental fruit trees in Oakland.  Their numbers fell slightly in early January, then surged again on the 13th when I saw so many that I recorded their number as ? (infinity) in my notebook.

But they ate all the fruit and the ground was too frozen to find worms and invertebrates, so they left. If I'm lucky I see one or two robins a day.

This situation is only temporary. The robins wintering in Florida are getting restless. Soon they'll come north, following the 37oF average daily temperature isotherm and the arrival of the Spring.

You can watch their progress and contribute your own observations on the Journey North website.  Click here to see an animated map of the Robin Wave.

We're in a robin hiatus now but they'll be back soon.  My prediction is March 5.  What do you think?

(photo by Chuck Tague)

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Robin Hiatus”

  1. George Bercikon 19 Feb 2013 at 10:03 am

    Kate, about a week ago I had a flock of approx. 200-Robins, feeding heavily for 2-days.That was when we had a couple of warmish days,open ground. They seemed to be almost giddy from the weather, but were gone after a 2- day visit. I wondered if they continued Northward, or if they headed for some local cover to wait out the subsequent return to winter. Their main food appeared to be Sumac berries and whatever they could forage from the ground. Warmed the heart to see them during the bleak season.

  2. Marianneon 19 Feb 2013 at 11:35 am

    I haven’t seen or heard an American Robin near DuBois, PA since the end of November. We didn’t even get one for the DuBois Christmas Bird Count on December 15!

    I like your predicted arrival date, Kate! That would be a great bd gift!

  3. kathy boykowyczon 19 Feb 2013 at 12:58 pm

    There have been a lot of robins eating berries off the crabapple trees on my street. The odd thing is that they are stripping the fruit off the older trees, but the young trees planted last year, though full of goodlooking fruit, are being ignored. What gives?

  4. Kathyon 19 Feb 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think I sent you a note a couple of weeks ago about all of the Robins around my swimming pool area here in FL. I had never seen so many at one time in my life. I don’t see so many anymore. They must be headed back to you!

  5. anneon 19 Feb 2013 at 1:47 pm

    saw hundreds of robins in the cemetery in North Braddock on Sunday. All on the ground don’t know what they were eating, but they were working hard. Their tops blend perfectly into the brown leaves and grass but when they pop up, their breasts are just so beautiful and bright.

  6. Carol Smithon 19 Feb 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Spotted 10 for the Great Backyard Bird Count this past weekend and felt quite lucky considering the weather.

  7. Jennieon 19 Feb 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Just today, my husband and I saw about 30 in a yard on Post Road in the North Hills. There were more in the trees, but we couldn’t get an estimate. About 2-3 weeks ago, they spent two days stripping all the berries from a big holly tree in our back yard. They started from the top and worked their way down. Over the next few days, we saw a handful at a time eating the holly berries from the lower branches. It’s an annual occurrence, though this year it seemed a bit early. We’re always thrilled to see it. I like your estimate of March 5th.

  8. Markon 19 Feb 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I still see a few robins in my area eating berries. looking forward to he spring.

  9. Jennieon 22 Feb 2013 at 8:10 am

    They’re back, in my yard anyway. The ones I saw in late January/early February numbered in the hundreds. Yesterday a handful came back to the holly trees to continue picking berries from the lowest branches and to eat those that were on the ground. This morning, I would guess their number to be somewhere between 50 and 100.

  10. TheWildSowon 22 Feb 2013 at 6:26 pm

    One day last week I saw a large flock of robins feeding up by the Oakland VA. Seing them made me feel very “springy”!

  11. Kate St. Johnon 22 Feb 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I saw 9 today at Craig St in Oakland. At least it was more than 1!

  12. Kimon 04 Mar 2013 at 8:54 am

    Help, I live in Michigan and lo and behold yesterday I surprised a Robin by my foundation.
    We are covered with a foot of snow and it is 15 degrees today. I hear it in the tree out front sounding pitiful. I put out some catfood but I fear she or he will not eat it. I would hate to see her frozen, any suggestions?

  13. Kate St. Johnon 04 Mar 2013 at 9:08 am

    There’s not much you can do. Robins eat berries in winter. Perhaps your yard has some? In any case, here’s information from Massachusetts Audubon on what robins eat in winter (scroll down): http://bit.ly/WIvMNf

  14. sonja smithon 25 Mar 2013 at 11:23 am

    Robins love Friskies Surfin & Turfin Favorites (dry) cat food. I just saw my robin lookig for the food and quickly put her a bowl out in the snow.

  15. Kate St. Johnon 25 Mar 2013 at 11:25 am

    I know that crows and grackles like cat food. Had no idea robins did.

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