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Wednesday, March 16


Written by: Brian Neudorff

Since about mid February we get the occasional email and even blog comment about the number of robins being spotted. The emails are always so upbeat and excited and telling us the number of robins they see, but do the number of robins being seen before spring indicate an early or warmer spring?

No, they are not. Although we all grew up believing that all birds fly south for the winter that is not true about the American Robin. It is a hardy and adaptable bird comfortable in just about any habitat which North America can provide. Many will find shelter in area woods or garden beds to stay warm and find some food. In the winter they will eat old berries off trees and on the ground. We see them on days when it is sunny and even when there open ground.

From what I have learned many robins do migrate south but they don't like to take long journeys so some of the robins in Canada may migrate to our backyards. It's a nice thought that the first robin seen in the winter equals the arrival of spring but it may be a straggler or a robin that migrated from our neighbors to the north.


  1. Juncos are another interesting bird. They're the ones with gray wings and a white breast. About the size of a sparrow. You'll see them most common by October feeding on bird seed at area bird feeders. Then by spring, they disappear for the summer and come back again in the fall. They're Arctic birds that prefer the cold. In the summer, they'll fly to the Arctic. When the fall comes, they migrate to southern Canada and the northentier of the U.S for the winter. Apparently the Arctic is too cold even for them in the winter.

  2. Scott or Brian,
    Is there a stalled out cold front somewhere? It's been hovering between 34 and 36 degrees ALL DAY in Buffalo, with 0.25mi visibility and dense fog. Here in Rochester, we've had great visibility (currently 10 miles) and temps in the mid 40s. Are we supposed to get cold and foggy too?

  3. The fog over Buffalo is classic "advection fog" from Lake Erie. If you check out the ob there you'll see SW winds all day. Visibility has dropped there from 5 to 2 miles this afternoon.

    I don't expect dense fog tonight but some areas of fog will form once skies clear a bit.


  4. ...........but it may be a straggler or a robin that migrated from our neighbors to the north.

    Or just a plain stupid bird for stopping here.

  5. You'd be surprised how many birds stick around here all winter. Irondequoit Bay is filled with Geese, Swans and Ducks all winter long. Go figure.


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