Robins!! It’s January in Maine!

Robin in JanuaryRemember that you can click on any photo to enlarge it.

The wind is blowin’…the snow is snowin’… That’s how that old song goes and it is sure true today. We are experiencing what folks from Maine fondly (okay, maybe not always fondly) call a “nor’easter”!  Looks like most of the state will get 10″ to 15″ of snow by the time this storm blows by.

But wait…doesn’t the sighting of a robin tell us that spring has sprung?! …that winter is bidding us farewell?!  Well then, spring must be here—or at least it is spring in Lisbon, Maine. Our daughter sent me these photo’s on January 26th. Night-time temperatures were well below zero and daytime wasn’t much warmer.  But here you have it…robins in Maine in the middle of winter.

After doing some research, I found that wildlife biologists and birdwatchers say that robins are fairly common winter residents in Maine, especially along the coastal regions.  It seems that robins are really short-distance migrants when  they can get away with it. They lack the compulsion to fly far south each fall, despite the fact that everyone thinks that they fly south. Who knew that robins are opportunists and not all that ambitious.

Robin in Maine WinterIn the winter months, robins are likely to stay in large flocks where there is an abundance of fruit.  They seek crabapples, mountain ash and any leftover berries that they can find. People plant ornamental shrubs that also produce fruit for all birds and to help robins survive.

Robins can survive for several days if inclement weather prevents them from feeding because they carry fat reserves on their bodies. However, they may go further south if an ice storm or blizzard prevents them from finding food.  2009 Winter RobinSome of the robins that are seen in Maine have come south from northern Canada.  Canadian robins are bigger and darker than the birds that we normally see here in Maine  (these robins do appear to be both larger and darker). I guess that Maine may be balmy compared to northern Canada!

There you have it. If you live in Maine and see a robin in your yard in January, don’t put your long johns away quite yet! Spring is just 51 days away.


  1. Coppertop says

    Great photos, I especially like the first one – Robin with berry in its mouth! Looks like they are getting quite a feast! I didn’t know that the Canadian Robins were larger and darker.

  2. manju says

    These are great photos! I can never get such clear shots of birds. Are you taking part in the great bird count next month?

    • says

      Photographer was Tracey. I am just seeing ordinary birds here. She saw both red and yellow grosbeaks in that same tree yesterday. She should be the one to do the bird count.

  3. Katie says

    Oh! Thanks. I was beginning to wonder. This Jan. and Feb. I have seen flocks in the Portland area. Don’t remember this from past years.

    • says

      Guess the berries and food in southern Maine must have been really good this year. Makes us think that maybe spring is right around the corner (smile).

  4. Giddy says

    No robins spotted here on the coast yet. However, our deck feeder is hosting a whole flock of mourning doves! Keeps the cats quite entertained!

  5. Meme says

    I’m watching a robin here in Windham as I write this. I was prompted to goggle “robins” and “Maine” because I couldn’t believe what I’m seeing. We have a bird feeder but robins never bothered with that, seeking the worms and whatever insects on the ground or in the bushes.

    Lots of jays, chickadees, starlings, and doves come by for chow. I haven’t see the cardinal in a couple of weeks.

    My first thought was, ohhhhhh an early spring. But after reading the postings here, I took my winter coat back out of the cedar closet. :-)

    Have a good day, y’all.

    • says

      We can still hope that spring is springing, Belinda. :-) Be sure to join in on the Great Backyard Bird Count which starts tomorrow (see my post today).

  6. Jo says

    I watched this one robin all summer get so fat and wondered if he would be able to fly south this fall, well he never. He has been eating from my crab apple tree, just outside my living room window where each morning I look for him. He also made it thru this blizzard the Northeast just had yesterday. I just hope he makes it thru the rest of our long winter up here in Northern Maine….I live up here near Caribou.

    • says

      I’m finding that they are pretty adaptable birds. Looks like maybe a bit lazy too – they have found that it isn’t necessary to fly south anymore.

  7. Sid says

    Wow, there’s a whole flock of robin’s just outside my office window in Phippsburg, ME. It’s 1/16/13

  8. susie says

    haven’t seen any robins in Palmyra yet but doves and chicadees are singing mating calls.