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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published February 07 2013

Weather Talk: Robins sighted this time of year never went south

Robins, surely, are a harbinger of spring. Every year, about this time of year, the weather office gets phone calls, emails and photographs of robin sightings. However, it is likely that most, if not all, of the robins seen in late January and February have been here all winter.

Although robins are migratory, and go south for winter, a few robins for some reason do not make the trip. Their survival during our long winter season depends on their food supply. With worms all below the frost several feet down, robins turn to dried berries and fruit instead. Old, frozen fruit hanging on a crab apple tree branch on any street in Fargo Moorhead, for example, can provide a robin with a meal at any time during winter.

Robins protect themselves against some of the cold by fluffing up their feathers. This makes them look fat, but it really provides additional insulation. And although this sounds grim if you compare it to the human situation, robins will shiver during extreme cold to produce heat.


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