I know I asked myself that question when we got early snow. I was at a park and saw about 100 robins sitting in trees with a foot of snow below. I was thinking that I wish I had some fruit to give them. Not having my camera, I went back the next day and only one robin remained. Granted, it really was snowing like the dickens, but where did they go?
As the weeks passed, the robins became fewer and fewer over the area, but some persisted through the worst ice and snow. It got me to wonder how they fared.
As you probably know, robins eat things like grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and what every kid knows, earthworms. What kid has not watched them tug and stretch a worm until it is freed from the earth? They bounce along in the grass, stopping abruptly with head tilted waiting to yank a worm from below. I read where one robin will eat 14 feet of worms a day.
Robins love gardeners too. They love us tilling, digging, and especially sprinkling the lawn, making their job easier.
Did you know that our American Robin is not the same species as the European Robin? Our Red-Breast is a thrush and theirs a flycatcher. They just look similar to each other with the blazon breast. Don’t tell the American Robin, but their robin is cuter.
Now that we got robin trivia out-of-the-way, so why the heck are they hanging around in winter? Well, because some of them just do. It all depends on the available food source and when it dries up, they move on.
The reason most people don’t see them is because they are no longer flitting across the lawn, but have moved to the trees of moist forests. That is where the berries and fruit are found. So I found them about two and a half weeks later, maybe about 50 of them in the woods at Niagara Falls.
And with berries and fruit, comes some mighty intoxicated robins. If the fruit falls and ferments they still will eat it. There is a Mulberry tree behind my garage that makes many a creature wobbly on their feet. Squirrels have even fallen from this tree.
From the Cornell site, I read that robin roosts can be up to a quarter of a million birds in winter. That must be an amazing sight.
At the park today, I checked all the areas in the woods that I found robins earlier when snow was on the ground. Not one was to be found. But what I did notice was cardinals were in the same trees taking the same berries. Nothing in nature is wasted!
The barely noticeable female cardinal hiding in amongst the berries.