There is partial truth to the idea of the American Robin as the harbinger of warmer weather. Yes, they tend to stay away from our yards all winter long, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have flown south for the winter.

In many places throughout the continental U.S., robins flock and spend their winters in wooded areas to forage for shriveled berries still clinging to the branches. If the food supplies thin out, they will move on.

Wherever they end up in the winter, people are happy to see their return to yards and parks when the warm weather returns. Keep your ears out for their musical song, “cheerily, cheerio" and watch as they hop on the ground and come to a complete standstill, staring into the grass before they tug out a juicy earthworm.

Best of all, it’s fun to discover a robin’s nest in your yard, and they’re not afraid to build them near or even on a house. (Check your eaves, gutters, windowsills and light fixtures.) Just keep a safe distance, and change your routine, if needed, because robins get territorial during nesting season. Once the fledglings leave the nest, males continue to feed them for a while, as the female incubates a new batch of pale blue eggs.

Backyard Tips

Turning on your sprinkler is sure to attract a robin or two to your yard. You can also hang a nesting box, plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs and set out a bird bath. They’re not frequent feeder visitors, but they may stop to grab some pieces of dried fruit and peanuts if you set out Lyric’s Woodpecker Mix