Experiment 1:  Return of the Robins

As Montana (and other parts of the United States) has grown warmer in recent decades, some of Nature's most visible cycles have begun to change in response.

Robins, for example, are a highly visible sign of Spring, and many of us watch carefully to see our first robin each year before telling our friends and family that spring must definitely be on the way, because the robins are back.

American robins and climate change

Like many other species of migratory birds, however, robins have started to return from their winter migration as much as 30 days earlier than usual as average temperatures have increased over the last 30 years.

For this reason, watching for the first robin of the year, and then looking up records of robin return dates in the last 30-50 years, is an easy way for all of us to see one of the ways that climate change is affecting wildlife in our state.

To get started on this backyard experiment, follow the directions here.

And to learn more about American robins, click here or check out the links at right, but most of all, have fun!

Photo at top of page: iStock.