American Robin eating crab apple fruit in our yard.
Robin in FL eating the fruits of Sabal Palm tree.
What's the deal with robins migrating and being seen in the north in winter? American Robins are being seen now in NH. We had 7 in our yard this morning. Yesterday we had some eating our Prairie Fire crab apple trees. Robins are a species that form into flocks and wander widely in winter. Most go to southern areas, such as FL, where they feed off many kinds of fruits and berries, including small fruits of palm trees.
Some flocks may stay in northern areas and wander, looking for fruits and berries. So they may show up unexpectedly in many northern places area in winter and have people wondering, "what are robins doing in (fill in the northern state name) now, I though they were supposed to go south?"
Robins eat lots of berries in winter when the ground is frozen and they cannot get insects or worms. You can attract robins and help them in winter by planting crab apples in your yard. We plant several kinds, including Prairie Fire, whose fruits seem to last into winter, because they are not eaten in fall as much as our other crab apple species. Maybe they ripen to softness later. So they're a good tree to supply robins food in mid-winter. In winters when even the Prairie Fire crab apples have been eaten and hungry robins are here in a March snow storm, we have put out raisins and the dried red cranberries called "craisins" and robins have appreciatively gobbled them. Robins also like water to drink at any time of year.
Robins are frequently included in surveys of bird feeding even through they do not really eat bird seeds. Maybe it is because they are seen so frequently in yards that do have bird feeders.
Hope this clears up some of the mystery of Robin migration.