Published January 31, 2010, 12:00 AM

ASK THE DNR: Robins in winter

The sightings appear to have gone up significantly for robins this year, but the specific reason is unclear.

By: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,

Q. With the recent cold temperatures, I was really surprised to have seen a robin in my backyard. Don’t robins usually migrate south for the winter?

A. Robins are frequently attracted to the types of ornamental fruiting trees, shrubs and vines that people plant in their yards. These include crabapples, highbush cranberry, eastern red cedar and bittersweet. Many varieties retain their fruits into the winter and provide a continuing food source for wintering birds. Records indicate increasing numbers of eastern bluebirds, mourning doves and robins migrating late in the year or staying throughout the winter. The sightings appear to have gone up significantly for robins this year, but the specific reason is unclear.

— Lori Naumann, information officer, DNR nongame wildlife program

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