Robins' Return Doesn't Mean Spring

By Jason Meyers, Meteorologist

February 8, 2013 Updated Feb 8, 2013 at 9:40 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- Seeing a Robin in January or February doesn't mean Spring will shortly follow. Even though Robins are the first birds to nest in the Spring, we can still see them all Winter long. That's because Robins live all over North America and as far north as Alaska.

Most Robins only fly a few hundred miles south of their nesting grounds. That means the birds we see in the Summer fly south to Kentucky and Tennessee. The Robins we see in the Winter are probably from Michigan or Canada. These birds stay in heavily wooded areas and near streams where they're protected from the weather and they can find a source of food.

Ornithologists (people who study birds) say a better indicator of migration is the Red Winged Blackbird. They're easy to identify, and they usually travel in large numbers. Better yet would be the turkey vulture. They're as routine as any bird you'll find. Some cities across the country even have Turkey Vulture Festivals celebrating the birds' return in the Spring.

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