Sign of spring? Why the robins are braving the cold - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Sign of spring? Why the robins are braving the cold

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(WJBK) -

Signs of spring are in the air. Perhaps you've heard the robins by now, or maybe spotted some in your backyard.

That means spring is just around the corner - right?

Tom Schneider, the Curator of Birds at the Detroit Zoo, says not necessarily.

"Robins are one of those species that aren't really truly migratory birds. They tend to usually move as far south as they need to, to continue to find food. So this year, in Michigan, surprisingly with all the snow on the ground they are able to find berries. There was really a bump of crop berries last year," says Schneider.

The summer of 2013 was significantly wetter than average, which led to an abundance of berries. We received 16 inches of rain compared to the average 10 inches.

Spring is a little over two weeks away, at least according to the calendar.

The first day of spring is Thursday, March 20.

Weather Authority Derek Kevra says "Meteorological Winter" is the time between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28.  

In that 90-day stretch we had:

  • Temperatures stuck below freezing 68 days. This is 76 percent of winter.
  • Temperatures below zero 13 times, which is 4 times more than it happens in an average winter.
  • An average temperature of 21 degrees. That's good for the 8th coldest winter ever (and coldest in 35 years).
  • 78 inches of snow - the second most ever.
  • Only 22 days with a temperature higher than average.

Kevra says we've also had 64 consecutive days with a snowpack of at least 1 inch. The record is 74.

By Kevra's estimation, when you break winter down by hours in each day, we have spent roughly 80 percent of winter in below-freezing temperatures.

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