what do robins eat?

What do robins eat?

Be careful of milk. MILK CAN MAKE THEM VERY SICK

Robin eating seed (northeastwildlife.co.uk)
Robins love munching on nuts, seeds, and mealworms (Photo: northeastwildlife.co.uk

They live in woodland and our gardens, gobble up worms and sing late into the night, but what’s the best way to attract these cheery little songbirds? Feed them, of course!

What do robins eat?

A robin’s favorite foods are insects (especially beetles!) and worms, so keep your eyes peeled for our feathery friends next time you’re in the woods or your garden – especially if you’re digging in the soil. They’ll follow you about and snap up any tasty titbits you unearth.

Robins also feast on fruit, seeds, suet, crushed peanuts, sunflower hearts, raisins and small amounts of grated mild cheese – yum! But their favorite snacks are mealworms.

How to feed robins

Putting food out and waiting to see which birds stop by for their tea is always so much fun. But not all birds eat the same food, or in the same way.

Here are the three best ways to attract robins –and other birds – to your garden.

Ground feeding tray

Robins are natural ground feeders, so feeding trays are ideal. Make a mixture of birdseed, sunflower hearts, small amounts of cheese and mealworms, sprinkle it on the tray and wait for the robins to arrive.

They’re particularly greedy for mealworms, whether live or dried. You can soak the dried ones in water, which helps the birds get some valuable moisture from their food.

Bird tables

Like ground feeding trays, bird tables give robins an easy place to eat their dinner.

Provide some yummy mealworms and fruit, and watch them tuck in. You can also have a go at making your own homemade bird cake or food bars using melted suet or lard. Just pour it into a mixture of seed, raisins, and nuts, let it cool and place it onto the table.

Of course, you can leave food on an open bird table, but make sure you get rid of it if it gets wet. Soggy food can be home to mold and bacteria, and make birds very poorly. Covered bird tables are best, as their roofs help keep everything dry, protect smaller birds from predators, and can make it harder for wood pigeons to snaffle all the food!

Hanging feeders

Lots of garden birds, like blue tits, house sparrows, and goldfinches, will happily grab a bite to eat from seed feeders. Hang them up and fill them with peanuts, nyjer seed, and other high-quality food, and watch the birds flock to your garden.

Yet robins are unlikely to visit hanging feeders unless they have a platform perch they can sit on. Now and then they’ll hold onto the feeder’s thin little perches or hover next to it and snatch a few seeds, but they prefer to eat from a flat surface, like a bird table or the ground.

Any other tips?

Don’t forget to always provide fresh water for birds to drink and bathe in. And remember – no matter which birds you’re feeding, never put out milk as it can make them really ill.

It’s always best to avoid leaving bread out for birds. While it fills them up, it doesn’t provide the right sort of nutrients or energy they need each day. This is really bad in winter as birds need lots of good quality food to help them keep warm.

Have you attracted robins to your garden? Which foods did they like best? How many other visitors did you have?

2 Comments

  • Linda Dust says:

    I llive in the north of Portugal i have three Robins come to my Garden in the morning and all through the day i just love these birds also we have quiet a few wrens,wagtails,blackbirds,Tits and others that i can not identify,we also have buzzards not feeding on the bird table but hover over head

    • Steve Ramsey Steve Ramsey says:

      it is so great to see them around and feed them help them and take care of them as 1 million birds killed a year by cats and another animal.I just have
      an injured American robin he fell into my garden at the end of July 2017 after a large bird tried to kill him, other birds and his parents were
      trying to scare the raven away but the robin fell and his wing was dislocated I took him to the vet and he told me he wants to inject the bird and kill him
      I refused, so he told me to take him home and care for him and if anybody asks me I should tell them that I had a vet permission as it is against the law to keep wildlife
      so I cared for him got some books about the bird’s wings and the robin saw few youtube took the robin to a clinic and did Xray on him, his left wing wasn’t broken at all
      it was dislocated so I managed to put back his left wing and secure it with tape and kept the bird in warm, cage so he doesn’t do too much movement, I kept provide him with food, water, blue barries that he likes so much and his favorite food the mell warm, after 2 weeks I put him and a bigger cage then a larger cage . By the time he got strong and healthy his wings started growing and he
      can move and clean them and jumps and flying around. I put him in a large room so he can start to take short flights and he did. Now he is back in the large cage front of a large window so he can see the sun, It is cold in Calgary now in February 2018. I will release him to the wild in end of may so he can go back to the nest he fell from and hopefully he will meet his parents when they come back from USA or south, as those birds always come back to the same area and same nesting site. I have all the picture of his life and the videos I will make the final video when I let him go and then will publish it here, youtube, and LinkedIn.I call him Robi the Robin under left behind story when his parents saw him and left him flying south and he was crying for them and I saw all that from my window.

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