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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published February 10 2014

Weather Talk: Robins sighted during winter here likely never left

Robins are frequently sighted in and around the Fargo-Moorhead area during winter.

Many people take these sightings as a sign of pending spring. However, robins seen in the middle of winter are not likely robins who have returned from the South early. Rather, they are likely robins who never left.

A few robins stay behind for the winter. According to ornithologists and a couple of bird enthusiasts I know, we do not know exactly what makes a few robins stay behind. The easy, popular answer is that this is due to our warming climate. However, the number of wintertime robin sightings does not appear to correlate to the temperature or the severity of the winter or to any trends.

It may be related to a more ample food supply. Robins can survive on dried or frozen fruit such as crab apples until the worms are no longer locked in below the frost.

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