About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Flocks of American Robins

My husband and I were walking around 4:00 p.m. yesterday and were delighted to see birds in migration.  They seem to be robins and there were at least 3 different flocks, with hundreds in each.  They were heading south/south west and only made a small amount of noise.  Were we right to assume these were robins.  We stood in the middle of a road and watched until they had flown over and were thrilled we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Any info you could provide would be wonderful. Thank you, Owosso, Michigan
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
After nesting is completed in late summer and up until the breeding season begins next spring, robins form flocks that roost together at night and feed together by day. Robins are nomadic, and wander irregularly. The same individual robin may winter one year in Florida and remain in mid-Michigan the following year.

American Robins go where there is food. Flocks can move around to different nut or fruit trees as they ripen and avoid bad weather when it blows through. I have a pond that is always flowing in my yard and they hit it occasionally throughout the winter to take baths or stop by to devour berries on a nearby mountain ash or crab apple tree.

Robins ARE territorial on their summer breeding territories, but not at their roosts, or in feeding trees. Flocking is a behavior that gives the birds more eyes and ears to search for food sources and be watchful for predators.

So the robins you saw may be flying south or to a local pond or just out foraging for a tree full of fruit. Some America Robins migrate but if you look at the range map you’ll see that there are winter populations of robins in most states year round. Robins are surprisingly hardy birds, capable of surviving temperatures well below zero. But that doesn’t mean sightings are common.

Related Articles:
- Why Robins are Attracted to Water http://bit.ly/qP9aTs
- Bird of the Week: American Robin http://bit.ly/pnUKqk
- Fun Facts About The American Robin http://bit.ly/n9CSni
- Why robins are called Robin Redbreast and not orange breast http://goo.gl/OB4iT