ASK TOM: Birds arriving from winter break?

Dear Tom,

On Feb. 8, I spotted a robin in a small tree in a parking lot here. Could this really be a very “early bird”?

—Mary White, River Forest


Dear Mary,

We get reports of sightings all through the winter, so this probably wasn’t an “early bird.” It might have been a Canadian robin wintering here or a “local” that chose to stay.

In the summer, robins are found across most of North America. However, those northern robins winter in the United States or the relatively mild Canadian Pacific coastal strip. Most of the U.S. is wintering territory for some Canadian robins. Locally, most of our “summer” robins migrate to the South for the winter, but some stay if they can find berries, seeds and dormant insects.