Robins tend to switch their diet seasonally, so they eat insects during the summer months and seeds during the winter months. Explore the behavior and feeding patterns of robins with helpful information from an Audubon Society member in this free video on wild birds.
Robins are, in many ways, similar to a lot of other songbirds, like the cardinal for example, in that they tend to switch their diet seasonally. In the summer, I think a lot of people associate robins with earthworms, so that you'll see robins hopping around on a lawn, you know, looking and then picking and pulling a worm out of the soil, and they'll also take a lot of insects. So, in the warmer weather that's the kind of thing that they predominantly feed on, you know, insects of and that covers a huge assortment of possibilities, and other small invertebrate animals like worms. But, in the fall when insects are generally less or not available at all, and earthworms are too deep in the soil, and so on, they become fruit eating birds or frugivores. So that robins become very gregarious in the winter. They come together in flocks. They spend the night; they roost, sometimes in associations that may include thousands of robins together. And then, in the daytime they spread out into areas where they feed on fruits and berries. A lot of our native shrubs and things have berries that persist on into the late fall and through the winter. Things like holly for example, and dogwood, and green brier vines, this kind of thing, all hold their berries a long time, so that in the fall and even into the winter in New England it's possible to see sometimes hundreds of robins so long as the berry bearing shrubs and trees still have a lot of fruit on them. They'll come into suburbia; they'll feed on crab apples that people have planted in their yard, that kind of thing, when they're not able to eat insects. So again, it's kind of two different lifestyles based on seasonality and food availability.