More Robins Are Sticking Around in Winter
By Pat Leonard
January 11, 2017
It’s not your imagination. Project FeederWatch data from November to April over the past 25 years show that more American Robins are sticking around for the winter in the North or arriving earlier on their northern breeding grounds.
During the winter of 2015–16, robins visited 68 percent of FeederWatcher backyards in the northeastern United States, more than double the 32 percent of backyards visited by robins in 1989–90. Even in the Far North (northern Canada and Alaska), robin visitation rates to FeederWatcher sites are up (11 percent in 2015–16 compared to 6 percent in 1989–90). Robin flock sizes in the Northeast and Far North have more than doubled, too.
Urban landscaping may be a factor, as robins are primarily fruit eaters in winter. The trend may also reflect warming winter temperatures and reduced snow cover. Check out Project FeederWatch trend reports for American Robins and many other species.