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Robins, robins everywhere: Winter-like weather sidetracks migration

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The early bird that gets the worm will have to wait until the snow clears.

If you've been outside in the Twin Cities lately, you've probably noticed thousands of robins lingering in yards and tree tops, waiting patiently to migrate north.

Kirk Mona, outreach coordinator for the Warner Nature Center, tells the Star Tribune that the unusual number of birds is somewhat of a "train-station effect" for robins that come south to Minnesota for the winter and are unable or unwilling to return north. Those coming from the south have gone as far as they can.

On his blog, Twin Cities Naturalist, Mona sums it up this way: "Pretty much the entire Mississippi Flyway's worth of robins are backed up in the Twin Cities right now. These are resident birds mixed in with a sizable percentage of all the birds in Canada."

Although the metro has far less snow on the ground than in the northern part of the state, food sources for robins are limited.

Bird expert and author Sharon Stiteler tells WCCO the birds should be OK. They'll have to settle for a "ramen-noodle type" diet of berries and spider eggs.

"Like us, they are simply waiting for the weather to improve. This is about as far north as they dare go at this point," Mona says.

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