American Robins

American Robins are fairly large songbirds, and are very familiar over most of North America in the spring and summer, running and hopping on lawns with an upright stance, looking for insects and earthworms.

Although they are considered harbingers of spring, many American Robins also spend the entire fall and winter in their breeding range throughout the United States.  Those that breed in Canada will migrate to the United States.


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In fall and winter, American Robins form nomadic flocks from fifty to thousands in size, gathering in trees to roost or feed on berries.

This was exactly what I found at Prime Hook NWR.  I had never seen so many American Robins at one time, feasting on the berry-laden trees around the Visitor’s Center and along the Dike Trail.


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There were hundreds!


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The large fall/winter flocks will break up in the spring, prior to nesting season.   When northerners see their “first robin of spring,” it may be a bird that has wintered only a few miles away, not one that has just arrived from southern climates.


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It was most enjoyable watching these birds in such a large flock as they ate, chirped, and flew around Prime Hook.


32 thoughts on “American Robins

  1. Great photos – and I love all the colored leaves. We had a huge flock of robins come through our yard about a week ago, in a flurry of activity.

  2. I was so surprised to see a Robin in my backyard yesterday. We are covered in snow with temps dropping to -27c at night (all ready 🙁). These are lovely photos Donna.I especially like the third one with robin just peeking past the branch.

    • Thanks Tanja! They weren’t too happy I was trying to focus on them & they kept moving about to hide; so I just sat and watched/listened to them for a while, it was nice. And they certainly enjoyed those berries!

  3. I so appreciated this post, Donna, for your accuracy in the robin facts; this is information a lot of people don’t know. I find the huge flocks of robins (where we live in northern California) so enchanting every winter. Great post of a delightful bird.

  4. Nice shots and commentary as always Donna. Was wondering what Robins would eat during the fall since insects, grubs, and earthworms are not readily available. Looks like one of them was attracted to a Juniper (blue berries).

    • Thanks Steve! Once insects cease in availability, Robins go straight to berries of all kinds. And yes, they were all over the Junipers, eating those berries. Another interesting fact, if they eat honeysuckle berries exclusively for any length of time, Robins will get intoxicated briefly. 😲

  5. You captured some amazing shots of these lovely, under-appreciated birds. The last shot (same as the header?) is perfect for sharpness and detail. The berries surrounding the Robin are icing on the cake.

    • Thanks Gunta! Yes, I used the last shot to create my header. It does make for a beautiful fall photo! I was lucky as they wouldn’t sit still much, too busy going from branch to branch feasting on all those berries. 🙂

  6. Great photos of this beautiful American robin. It is always a privilege to experience and learn about birds you never, or just rarely, see in your own backyard or surrounding woods. Our own European robin is much smaller and has a smaller, more orange-red breast patch. 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I am familiar with your European robin, which is smaller than ours as well. I do think ours is a beauty, but yours really is quite beautiful and adorable at the same time. 🙂

  7. Beautiful clear, sharp images Donna! I’ve never seen that many in flock in the Spring, but oh how exciting it would be to do so.

    They usually arrive with the Cedar Waxwings here. Both make me giddy. 🙂

    • Thanks Denise! Yes, they live throughout the U.S., and many don’t migrate as long as they can locate winter berries usually in woods. They ‘reappear’ to us in the Spring when the male is ready to take and defend his territory, and insects on the ground are now plentiful again.

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