The sight of robins is a harbinger of spring. Or is it? Every winter, the weather office gets phone calls, emails and photographs of robin sightings. Rather than being a sign of the end of winter, robins seen during January and February have been here all along. Although robins are migratory and most do go south for winter, not all make the trip.

Their survival during our long winter season depends on their food supply. With worms all below the frost several feet down, robins turn to dried berries and fruit instead. Old, frozen fruit hanging on a crabapple tree branch on any street in the region can provide a robin with a meal at any time during winter. Robins protect themselves against some of the cold by fluffing up their feathers, making them look fat; this provides additional insulation. Although this sounds grim if you compare it to the human situation, robins will deliberately shiver during extreme cold to produce heat.

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