Montana Outdoors

March 11, 2009

Winter Robins

Filed under: Birds, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — Tags: — montucky @ 4:08 pm

This has been the coldest winter in the last ten years here in this part of western Montana. Despite that, many Robins stayed here all winter, something I’ve never seen before. I suppose they know what they’re doing!

After a temperature of -5° (F) last night, they still look quite chipper. This little guy was kind enough to pose for me while the sun was out today even though it never did warm up to the freezing point.




  1. He did pose nicely! I wonder what they eat all winter. No worms to be found. We’ve had robins stay over the winter here in the past, but I haven’t seen any this year. Temps were a breezy 45° here and snow is melting quickly. I’m sure there will be robins here soon.


    Comment by Cedar — March 11, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

    • You know, a week ago I actually saw them get some worms already, and saw an earthworm on the road on a rainy day. Now I wonder what happened to them, too!

      In the fall, we let the grass in the front grow longer so the deer will have something they can uncover and feed on, and also do not rake up the leaves. The Robins were going through the leaf residue in earnest, once there were patches of it visible. I’ve also seen some insects already.

      This guy was pecking the snow, and although I didn’t see anything there for him, I remember last winter on a hike seeing tiny black insects on the surface of the snow. Maybe that’s what they are getting.


      Comment by montucky — March 11, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  2. What a delightful photo! The robin looks well fed…
    Let me know when you hear the call of the “varied thrush”! That’s when you know it’s spring for sure in Montana!


    Comment by Maureen — March 11, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

    • I’m hoping they have had enough to eat. They have sure been active in the bare spots in the yard. ‘Course he’s all fluffed out in the cold.

      Haven’t heard the thrush yet. The Chickadees are starting to nest and using their mating calls and the Nuthatches look as though they are looking for nest sites.


      Comment by montucky — March 11, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  3. Perhaps he wasn’t posing. Rather, he was busy trying to figure out whose fault it was that he stuck around through -5 degree temps.

    He might be getting a new travel agent soon.


    Comment by wolf — March 11, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

    • After a few of these cold nights, I’d hate to be that travel agent! They seem to do well though. Amazing for what I’ve always thought of as a mostly warm weather creature.


      Comment by montucky — March 11, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  4. He’s really beautiful.. 🙂


    Comment by Camilla — March 12, 2009 @ 2:42 am

    • I think, with their bright colors, they are excellent harbingers of spring!


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2009 @ 8:51 am

  5. This is a nice juxtapositioning of Spring and Winter. Good catch. We have had more and more Robins wintering over in these parts as well.


    Comment by edvatza — March 12, 2009 @ 4:41 am

    • That’s interesting that you are seeing the same thing. I wonder if they are avoiding something in the areas where they usually winter?


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2009 @ 8:53 am

  6. I noticed robins the first of February and was surprised. Great captures, Montucky, of the robin with the cold snow background… so clear and detailed! 🙂


    Comment by Anna Surface — March 12, 2009 @ 7:00 am

    • Thanks, Anna! I’m amazed that Robins have been seen very in so many areas this year!


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  7. I finally saw a robin just this evening in Bigfork. But I did see geese early in February which I thought was strange – lots of them, resting in fields as they do when the migrate. Odd winter all around.


    Comment by Ann from Montana — March 12, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

    • Very odd. Besides having Robins all winter, we’ve had Red-wing Blackbirds for a month now. We always have a few geese that winter here, but this year for the first time there have been huge flocks of ducks wintering on the river below our house and geese almost up to summer numbers.


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

  8. Interesting that you should note these winter Robins, I noticed a number of them in my neighbors yard although the ground is showing through in many spots here.

    BTW, Robins also eat bread and fruit. It’s the winter Robins and Cedar Waxwings that find every single tiny crabapple on the tree in front of my home! It makes me feel good to know that my crabapple tree has provided sustenance for at least a few days each year.

    Beautiful photos in all of your entries. I like this new theme that you’ve selected, it really does show off your photos!


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — March 12, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

    • Our other birds eat about a pound of sunflower seed a day when the weather is bad, but the Robins don’t join in there. I’ll have to put some bread out for them though. They were finding worms already before this last cold spell and will again in a few days when it’s supposed to get back to seasonal temps.

      There’s a section of about a third of a mile of dense brush on a south-facing hillside not far from the house that is the hangout of the Robins, Waxwings and Blackbirds. There are so many berries growing there in summer that I’ve often said a person could subsist for several months just from the fruit in that area. It’s no wonder they are there!

      Thanks for the feedback on the new format. I like the larger photos too, especially for landscapes, which always look better in large sizes.


      Comment by montucky — March 12, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

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