Sign of Spring

Friends of Flowerland have been reaching out to us during the month of February to report sightings of robins! The robin, our well-loved Michigan state bird, is considered the harbinger of spring. It is also the state bird of our neighbor state Wisconsin, and they can live throughout most of North America, including Canada and even parts of Mexico.

Robin sightings are always exciting in early spring, although robins are often seen throughout the winter, as robins are plentiful in North America. Spotting a robin in winter might happen around open water, where they might find natural food sources. 

As we experience winter thaws and the grass starts to appear on our lawns, we are reminded of a key food source for robins – earthworms. Robins often locate earthworms by sound! Certainly as the ground thaws and worms break through the surface, robins (members of the thrush family) become more active and visible.

Like other birds, robins feed on a variety of insects even though as much as 50% of their diet can consist of wild and cultivated fruits and berries. That’s why adding plants to your landscape that provide both cover (protection from predators) and food for robins, will improve your odds of seeing them year-round. Evergreens provide cover, and fruiting plants like crabapples, viburnums, pyracantha and dogwoods provide food.  Open water in winter helps too so consider a bird bath heater.

You can always count on robins  to be creative in finding new nesting sites, and they often use man-made structures (like soffits, building signs and decks) to construct their nest. This can give us the chance to see their beautiful robin blue eggs! Evergreens in your landscape are a common place for robins to take up residence during the nesting season. Here is a photo of some nesting robins in a Flowerland weeping pine this past spring.

Baby Robins spring 2021 (photo taken by Rick Vuyst)

And here is a mid-February video sent to us by Flowerland friends Mike and Marla. Thank you for the inspiration, we’re all anxious for spring 2022!

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