ASK TOM WHY: Has the warm December goofed up the robins?

Dear Tom,

We saw a flock of robins on our lawn on the morning of Jan. 23. That’s odd for this time of the year. Has the warm December goofed them up?

Don Kusek, Homer Glen, Ill.


Dear Don,

It’s not unusual to see robins in northern Illinois during the winter.  They may have been Canadian robins wintering here, or “locals” who chose to stay. In the summer, robins are found across most of North America — even Alaska and northern Canada to the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Those northern robins winter in the United States (or the mild Canadian Pacific Coastal strip). Surprisingly, most of the United States, including the Midwest, is wintering territory for some Canadian robins. Locally, most of our “summer” robins migrate to southern states for the winter, but some will remain if they are able to find berries, seeds and dormant insects.

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