Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.


Turdus migratorius Migration

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Flocks of Robins are now moving through Kootenay National Park, May 1, 2013 by Larry Halverson

American Robins are quintessential early bird whose appearance at the end of winter gives hope for longer and warmer days.

Rick Howie, retired BC Habitat Biologist and one of Canada’s best naturalist explains robin migration.

“While migration is heavily influenced by day length and the genetics of birds themselves, temperature and weather do trigger bird movements. In the spring, the northward movement of Robins often matches a line across North America where the average temperature is 2 degrees centigrade. As temperatures warm and this isotherm moves northward, the majority of robins follow it. Many birds have the capacity to sense advancing pressure systems so it is possible that they could move south ahead of a major cold front while fighting the urge to remain north as the day lengthen towards spring. The benefits of staying north and being the first birds back to the grounds can be risky business.”