By Carol Mowdy Bond
Across Canadian County, residents are reporting large flocks of birds in their landscape spaces. Included are large flocks of robins.
A flock of several hundred robins was sighted in the trees of a Surrey Hills backyard the morning of February 18. The flock included quite a few juvenile robins. The juveniles have pale whitish spotting or short streaks on their under parts. This camouflages the juveniles until they are older and better able to care for themselves.
During spring and summer months, robins tend to pair off and they are territorial. But during winter months, they become very social. They may form flocks made up of hundreds or even thousands of birds. Their large flocks allow them to have more eyes and improved chances to spot and avoid predators. Also, when one robin finds food, it can call the rest so everyone gets a meal.
Robins don’t necessarily migrate in the way we expect birds to migrate. They don’t migrate in the typical north to south and back again migration pattern. They are nomadic, and migrate to follow food. When their usual diet of worms and insects isn’t available, they look for trees that still have fruit. They only migrate as far as needed to meet their needs. So, from year to year, their migration can vary. In a mild weather year, they may not migrate at all.
Cold weather, snow, and ice don’t bother robins. They survive winter weather by fluffing their feathers, which makes them look really plump. Their feathers insulate their bodies, keeping them warm and toasty, even when they are in sub zero temperatures.
Robins can survive just by eating snow. But they love water that’s not frozen, to use for bathing and drinking. If you want to attract robins to your yard now, put out fresh water and make sure it’s not frozen.