[CT Birds] Comment on Robins

jaybrd49 at aol.com jaybrd49 at aol.com
Sat Jan 9 17:13:13 EST 2016

On occasion, it can be worthwhile to take a short break from looking at all these bird sightings around the state and take a few minutes to think about other aspects of birds and their behaviors.  What follows is something that I've been thinking about today....

It has been hard not to notice the abundance of robins this season.  The Hartford CBC set a record high with over 2500, and I know other areas of the state are loaded with robins as well.  Conventional wisdom says that breeding robins head south in the fall  and are replaced here in Connecticut by hardy, northern "winter" robins that come down from Canada and northern New England.  These are the birds that feed on fruit like crabapple, winterberry (ilex) and other berry producing trees, vines and shrubs through the winter season.  This is a tremendous year for fruit, and until now, with abundant food and mild temperatures, the robins have been having no problems.  However, as we reach mid-January, fruit is dwindling and at some point we should assume the temperatures will finally plunge and the ground will freeze (and maybe even get covered with snow!).

Today, I noted that our crabapples, so loaded with fruit only a week ago, were pretty much stripped.  There were several dozen robins on my lawn and in the woods behind my house, looking through the leaves for food on the ground.  The birds were behaving much as robins do during the breeding season, tosing leaves wildly and chasing each other away from what I assume were favored spots in the leaves.

So, here is my question:  Did, as we might expect due to the great fruit and berry crop, many of our robins not fly south as usual and remain in Connecticut?  And, what will happen to these birds when winter weather finally arrives - will they migrate southward...or will they perhaps die here due to lack of food?  What do CT birders think?

Jay Kaplan

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