Winter Robins – Directionally Challenged or Suicidal Mavericks?

Robins eat earthworms and migrate south at the first nip of autumn, right! So what’s with the flock I found roughing it in minus twenty degree cold and blizzard level winds?  Could they not find Florida?  Or are they birdie tough guys crazily laughing in the face of a wild Canadian winter?
Winter robin
That they were alive in January amazed me.  There hadn’t been a worm available under the ice and snow for months, yet the robins flew about  merrily.  Their single luxury was a leak in the beaver dam which trickled the only unfrozen water for miles.  So off to consult the bird gurus to explain.

I found out robins migrate for food, not warmth. While most head south where the bugs and earthworms stay on the menu, other robins just switch to frozen fruit and stick around.  Mostly near the Great Lakes, New England and all across the icy middle of the continent.   Even Winnipeg, famous as the coldest city on earth, has its hardy tribe of wintering robins.  They really must love those saskatoon berries.

So don’t hit the alarm when you spot a fluffed up robin in the snow.  Toss out a few raisins, some cut up fruit or strawberries.  For the right inducement, the bird that disdained the feeder all summer might condescend to a personal visit while the mercury plunges.

Gail Hamilton’s books.

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