Harbinger of Spring?

American Robin, , Bird Photo, Wild Birds Unlimited, WBUIt has often been said that the first sign of an American Robin foraging on the lawn means spring is on the way. But is the robin still a harbinger of spring?

Robins typically gather in flocks in autumn to migrate south to escape harsh winter weather. However, times seem to be changing.

More and more robins seem to be overwintering in more northern states and southern Canada. Even range maps show them to winter in the States including coastal Alaska and coastal and southern Canada. Check out the robins’ range map by clicking here.

Robins are not a typical feeder bird; but, they are known to visit feeders in lean times such as periods of harsh weather. Open water is always very attractive to robins and they can be enticed to some foods. Some of my favorite robin foods include the following.

* Raisins or currants soaked for a few minutes in water
* Live mealworms are a great treat and those in more northern areas can offer them in a heated dish filled with sphagnum moss
* Bark Butter Bits
* Sunflower chips

Foods are best offered in tray feeders whether on the ground or hanging. A hopper feeder with a wide platform works well. My personal favorite is the Dinner Bell feeder for offering food to robins because it has an accessible tray and a protective dome.

American Robin, , Bird Photo, Wild Birds Unlimited, WBUAre robins still a harbinger of spring? For the most part, I think they are. However, don’t be surprised to see a few robins around your neighborhood before spring arrives.

Where are you seeing robins?

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