Robins surprise Peorians

DeWayne Bartels
This robin seen in a tree in the East Bluff among the snow startled some people on Saturday.

Robins - the harbinger of Spring - were seen Saturday in Peoria.

At least 50 robins were seen in the East Bluff among the snow fluttering from tree to tree. 

The sight caught residents out in the more moderate Winter weather by surprise.

While the sight of robins was surprising to Peoria residents it is not unusual, according to several Web site on bird-watching. Learner.org - run by Annenberg Media is an educational resource Web site - says while the vast majority of robins migrate south for the winter some stick around in northern locales like Peoria.

"Robins migrate more in response to food than to temperature. Fruit is the robin's winter food source. As the ground thaws in the spring, they switch to earthworms and insects," Learner.org said.

"While the robins may arrive when temperatures reach 37 degrees, this is because their food becomes available not because the robins themselves need warm temperatures. Robins wander in the winter: Temperatures get colder as winter progresses. Robins need more food when it's cold and more and more of the fruit gets eaten. Robins move here and there in response to diminishing food supplies and harsh weather. If all robins wintered at their breeding latitude, there wouldn't be enough fruit for them all. So robins tend to spread out in the winter in search of fruit. Most hang out where fruit is abundant, but some take the risk of staying farther north where smaller amounts of fruit remain."