American robins have fairly long, pointed yellow beaks made to drive down into the soil to grab unsuspecting earthworms. It can be amazing to watch a robin hop several times, turn its head sideways to listen and then drive its beak into the ground to pull up a night-crawler.
Robins have dark black backs with lighter gray colouring above, and orangey-red breasts. The males are darker overall than the females but sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.
Mostly robins eat earthworms, caterpillars, and grubs during the summer months, but as fall approaches they will eat grapes, blueberries, cranberries, and tree fruit such as Canadian Holly and Mountain ash. Since these bird feed on the ground, tossing grapes, apples, raisins, currants, and other fruits during the winter and early spring will help them make it through. In some years, late winter storms and ice will make it very hard for robins to find food, and many of them will die. Having a supply of frozen fruit to thaw and toss out will be a lifesaver to these birds until the grass is uncovered and the frost has left.
In Nova Scotia we can see robins all year long, although they generally retreat from our neighbourhoods in late fall to find berries and fruit, roaming in large flocks until spring. We often relate the arrival of robins on our lawns and in our gardens as the first sign that winter is over and spring has finally arrived. The beautiful warbling fluted song of male robins is familiar to us all. The make their nests under decks, in the crotches of trees, and in open-sided birdhouses. They prefer residential or suburban areas where earthworms are easy to find in the well-manicured lawns. Golf courses and agricultural areas are favourite places to find them.