Where Do Robins Go In The Winter?

European Robin, more commonly known simply as a Robin, or Robin Redbreast
© Anthony Smith Images/Shutterstock.com

Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Updated: November 11, 2022

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Robins are unique birds with beautiful feathers. Despite their differences in colors, bluebirds and robins are closely related. These lovely birds sing and fly, captivating us with every dip. We commonly spot them during summer and spring, but what about winter?

American robins are gorgeous birds, and although they share a similar name with the European robins, they are not the same bird. These stellar birds sing loudly, although it is mainly the males. Even during the winter, the robins that stay behind sing at night in large groups.

In this article, we will review where robins go in winter and more fun facts about these singing birds.

Where Do Robins Go In The Winter?

European Robin singing out loud.

Robins can withstand freezing temperatures as long as they have enough food to produce warmth for their bodies.

©iStock.com/Wouter_Marck

Robins are nomadic in the winter, rarely staying in one place for long. While most birds flock south to avoid the icy temperatures, robins take their time and visit different places looking for food. Technically, these small birds can withstand freezing temperatures as long as they have enough food to produce warmth for their bodies.

American robins are not picky and can be found anywhere south of Canada. They sometimes travel as far down as Mexico and the Gulf Coast. In other words, robins are year-round North American residents. Some robins stay for winter. During the day, they travel and look for leftover berries and nuts on vines, shrubs, and bushes. When robins migrate, they migrate in large flocks. Imagine looking up and seeing between 50 to 1,000 robins flying together and singing.

Do Robins Come Back to the Same Place Every Year?

While robins don’t reuse the same nest, they return to the same place every year. However, not all robins travel back to their “home.” Robins only live about two years in the wild. They prefer building new nests when they return to their breeding and nesting site in the warm months. You may notice this if you have these small songbirds nesting in your backyard. Take down the old nest to help them prepare when they return during the warmer months.

How Cold is Too Cold for Robin Birds?

Robins are very resilient birds. They rarely need human help to survive both extremely hot and cold weather. For example, these birds live year-round in the 48 continental states, including during blizzards and snowstorms. They can easily withstand temperatures well into the negatives without help, and this is because their feathers insulate their bodies well. Robins have an internal temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit despite their outer feathers feeling cold. This is great for the cold, but when the temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit during summer, this can be dangerous. During winter, robins are notoriously known for looking pregnant, but this is just them puffing out their feathers to stay warm.

How Far Do Robins Fly in the Winter?

American robin flying from the tree

Not all robins migrate at the same time; it completely depends on the availability of fruits, nuts, and seeds.

©iStock.com/mirceax

You might not know this, but robins are very mysterious birds. There is still a lot we don’t know about them, which includes their migratory patterns during winter. Robins are strong and don’t tire easily when flying. When migrating, they can fly as quickly as 36 miles per hour. It isn’t uncommon for some robins to fly thousands of miles within one winter season. Not all robins migrate at the same time either; it completely depends on the availability of fruits, nuts, and seeds. Sadly, because of global warming, scientists have noticed that robins are migrating later in the year, depending on the amount and severity of snowfall.

What Do Robins Eat When it Snows?

Although robins have a high internal temperature that helps them survive snowy conditions, they struggle to find food during winter. American robins search for berries and other small fruit in bushes and trees during winter. Robins will stay close to a vine or shrub with fruit until they consume all that’s left. Afterward, they move again, looking for berries and water. Some fruits robins frequently eat are:

  • domestic grapes
  • cherries
  • blueberries
  • winterberries
  • holly
  • crabapples
  • chokeberries
  • blackberries

If you want to help these adorable birds, you are in luck! These birds can survive on little food and water and are not afraid to venture far to look for a good food supply. If possible, place a small cup or bowl with water for birds to drink when overwintering. Sadly, although robins like eating worms and other fattening insects, these bugs hide deep underneath the dirt during cold winters. While it may seem helpful, don’t give robins bird seeds from pet stores. It’s not because they hate the taste, but most robins have never used a birdfeeder or eaten prepackaged seeds. Instead, mealworms are a great snack for migrating robins.

Up Next:

Where Do Ducks Go In The Winter?

Robin Lifespan: How Long Do Robins Live?

European Robin vs American Robin: What’s the Difference?


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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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