What's up with the robins?

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Winter ice on these trees surround some early buds. These robins are fluffing up their tufts in Aledo to keep warm.

Move over groundhogs, we may have another spring harbinger.

A call from one of our readers pointed out something she found unusual -- robins. We're talking about Jan. 24 now. She first saw robins picking around in her neighbor's garden. The robins also moved to her yard and were roosting in neighborhood trees. Is this a sign that we'll have an early spring?

With the common thought that seeing a robin is the first sign of spring, Aledo resident Jane Ketzel wondered, "Can it be true?"

Robins do migrate, according to an Internet Blog on the subject from Jan. 19, 2009. Birders back then were reporting "mind boggling numbers of robins in the Boston, Massachusetts area."

The robins we see today may be on their way south. They may have stopped in Aledo to do a little feeding.

According to an Internet site called Journey North, an article titled American Robin states, "The vast majority of robins do move south in the winter. However, some stick around - and move around - in northern locations."

With fruit the winter food source for robins, they seem to gravitate to fruit trees. They also eat more food when it's cold, and since the fruit is scarce, they travel more.

The trick is to listen. Are they singing? "Robins sing when they arrive on their breeding territories," the story says.