Do robins migrate?

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Do robins migrate?

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My husband watched Autumn Watch last night and said they referred to our Robins leaving the country for the winter and being replaced bya  winter migrant population - did he hear this right?  I always assumed that our Robins were pretty sedantry little fellows. 

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  • I thought they stayed here too. Our robin was busy eating the worms from the leaf compost my husband was putting on the veg. patch this morning.

  • I think this should answer your question - http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/expert/previous/robinsmigrate.asp

    Most robins do stay in the same area and don't migrate but others do migrate south to where it is a bit warmer, while other birds from the continent move here.

  • lucybob

    My husband watched Autumn Watch last night and said they referred to our Robins leaving the country for the winter and being replaced bya  winter migrant population - did he hear this right?  I always assumed that our Robins were pretty sedantry little fellows. 

    Hi, I would not argue withexperts, but I know some stay."my" robin follows me up the garden every morning for dry porridge oats. In the breeding season he comes to hand-well shoulder really-for meal worms. However this spring he did have a European robin mate. He has been alone for a while, but yesterday appeared with another I presume a new mate. This one is British.

    regards Min

  • Thank you for the link KatTai - I suppose the only way to know if your Robin has stayed is to get to know its habbits really well like Min because a new arrival wouldn't do the same would it?  I felt quite upset that 'my' Robin may not be the same one all year round so I shall now watch it much more closely.  Min how do you tell a European Robin?  Just when you think you know a bird you have to learn all over again! 

  • lucybob

    Thank you for the link KatTai - I suppose the only way to know if your Robin has stayed is to get to know its habbits really well like Min because a new arrival wouldn't do the same would it?  I felt quite upset that 'my' Robin may not be the same one all year round so I shall now watch it much more closely.  Min how do you tell a European Robin?  Just when you think you know a bird you have to learn all over again! 

    Hi again, well bear in mind I could be wrong, and you need to see them together, but it seems to me that the european is a bit slimmer and the breast feathers are more orange than red.

  • Oh dear, maybe my robin isn't the same one we've had all year! 

  • The more we know about birds the less romantic it is!  I shall definitely look much closer at the Robins now I have seen different coloured ones as Min says some are like the Christmas Card Robins and then others arrive in the garden and are quite a different shade.   However, if they have certain traits that they repeat every morning then I am sure you are seeing the same Robin. 

  • Speaking of robins generally, I always used to find it very confusing when younger that, although "Mary Poppins" (the Disney film!) is set in London, they had a (presumably) American robin to accompany the song 'A Spoonful of Sugar' - it was years before I discovered the two were quite different!

  • We certainly do get a lot more robins joining 'the locals' in winter. Back in the 1990s I volunteered for a while at the RSPB's Titchwell reserve in North Norfolk. One October morning when we went out onto the reserve at first light the place was covered in robins which had arrived from across the North Sea that night. You could look straight down the path out to the beach and count 50 in one view, all hopping around and trying to avoid one another (even migratory robins don't rub along with one another that well!)

  • Thank you Colin. That is something I certainly didn't know. To see 50 robins at one time must have been a scene to remember.

  • Wow!! 50 robins!! Incredible!

  • 50 robins would be such a brilliant sight - how lucky you were, Colin. 3 or 4 is the most I have ever seen in one go.

    With regard to the migration issue, we certainly get a fair number of continental robins here in the winter months, no-one is quite sure how many. According to the literature, our resident robins try not to move out of their territories if they can avoid it. Males are especially sedentary, and only around 5% of females travel considerable distances in the winter. The main type of 'migration' exhibited by our resident robins is regional movements of a few miles, normally in response to poor food availability in their territories. An example of this are robins that nest high up on hills, and are forced to move down to the sheltered valleys to escape the winter weather, especially if it snows.

  • Thanks Trochilus, I have certainly learnt a lot about robins today.

  • Each day we walk our dog in the Seven valley country park.During the spring and summer we feed  meal worms to 3-5 robins always in the same places if they are not there we whistle and they appear, I am not mad though people who have not seen this happen look at us in a very funny way. Two take the worms off our hands the others only from the ground. During the winter the numbers increase, last year there were 10 robins in just one small bush all coming down to feed without being agressive to each other.