Is the Robin the First Sign of Spring?

Is the Robin the First Sign of Spring?

By Bill Willis (WAIT)

February, 2016

American Robin
An American Robin searches for food in the middle of winter.
Photo courtesy of Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

Myth: I saw American Robins in Cary last month in the middle of a snowstorm. Does that mean that spring is just around the corner?

Myth Busted: The old wives’ tale is that a robin is the first sign of spring. As the myth goes, all robins migrate south for the winter to avoid the cold, returning in the early spring. However, American Robins are adaptable birds, comfortable in all sorts of habitats across North America. While most robins do migrate at least a little ways south in search of food, robins can endure tundra cold quite well. American Robins can be found across the United States all winter long. Robins not making a trip south will typically hide in forests and other wooded areas as protection from the elements, searching for food when the ground is less frozen.

If you’re looking for a bird to help forecast the weather, the Red-winged Blackbird is a more reliable predictor. They routinely fly north the first few weeks of March, just in time for spring.

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