Robins On The Move

Robins pause in a pine, California, Feb 2019 (photo by Douglas via Flickr Creative Commons license)

2 December 2022

In mid November hundreds, perhaps thousands, of American robins (Turdus migratorius) were in the east end of Pittsburgh but left abruptly when the weather dropped below freezing on November 18th. By the 21st it was 17 degrees F and the robins were long gone.

Robins can cope with cold weather but not with frozen ground so they stay just south of the freeze line as winter approaches.

American robin, Marin County, 16 Nov 2022 (photo by Robin Agarwal via Flickr Creative Commons license)

Those that nest in Canada and Alaska may leapfrog over the local slowpokes who wait for truly awful weather.

eBird distribution maps for June-July and December-February show that robins vacate the north to populate temperate zones in winter. June-July is dark purple with robins everywhere except for the hottest southern U.S. In Dec-Feb they’re concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast including Florida.

Robins were on the move here in November. Now they’re south of us, wrapping up.

(photos by Robin Agarwal and Douglas on Flickr via Creative Commons license; click on the captions to see the originals)

2 thoughts on “Robins On The Move

  1. Great info on winter robins. I have wondered about their winter habits. I am also wondering about the wintering habits of starlings which I sometimes see in mixed winter flocks with robins. Also great post yesterday on Dorothy. Thank you for your daily serving of sunshine!

  2. I had not seen any birds at my deck water bowl for days. Then yesterday I was surprised to see about 6 plump Robins having a drink. They joined a variety of smaller birds enjoying the water. The Robins were even pecking at chunks of ice on the deck floor.

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