Fragile, tiny, always welcome in our gardens: these are the robins. The red-breasted birds are famous feathered visitors, especially during the winter, when they simply brighten up the scene.
While robins deal with winter quite well, this doesn’t mean they do not struggle at all. As a scientific fact, you should know that when the temperatures are really low, the robins can lose around 10% of their body weight in just one night.
As such, it is pretty clear that a good meal will always be welcome.
If you are an animal lover, few other things can make you happier than little birds hopping around the garden. And truth be told, seeing the plump redbreasts and hearing the joyful songs of robins makes it impossible not to fall in love with their beauty.
In other words, robins are a stalwart in winter gardens, and they truly bring a lot of cheer during the freezing mornings. If you want to encourage even more robins to come around your household during winter days, here are some simple tricks to make their habitat more inviting and friendly.
Robins’ Favorite Foods
Robins enjoy eating on different seeds, as well as creepy-crawlies and fruits. However, their favorite foods are insects, like mealworms and beetles, earthworms, and any other invertebrates.
More than their overloading cuteness, robins can be great friends to the avid gardeners, as they will help control the unwelcome pest insects.
Robins’ Natural Diet
Let’s start the talk by taking a glance at what robins usually eat.
The Natural Diet Of Robins: American Vs. European Birds
Before we begin the discussion about these birds’ favorite food during different seasons, let me tell you that there are two main Robins categories.
- Particularities of American Robins’ Diet
While these robins enjoy eating many different things, such as worms and insects, it is essential to know more about what they do not eat.
So, American Robins will not eat so many seeds. Also, they are not too keen on cracked corn, mixed bird seeds, or peanuts.
While they might be curious at first and try these foods, they are not likely to return and eat them ever again.
As such, if you plan to prepare something for American Robins, I suggest avoiding bird seeds.
- Short Notes About European Robins
As their name implies, this is the robin species that live in Europe. Even so, it is hard to say that European Robins are very closely related to the American ones.
However, they do share some similar dietary preferences. For instance, they also enjoy worms, insects, berries, or fruits and seek them throughout the year. Therefore, if you want to help these birds have a rich diet, this is exactly what you should prepare for them.
How Do Robins Hunt For Their Food?
Despite being a common bird species around Europe and the United States, it doesn’t mean that each yard will be visited by robins. This happens because humans will hardly provide them with enough food. Robins need to take the necessary proteins from snails, invertebrates, or worms. Luckily for them, all these prey will take low energy costs while providing high levels of protein intake.
However, things change a bit when migration starts. During these periods, fruits are the primary energy source that helps robins to cross long distances. As such, during the nesting and mating season, the responsibility of finding enough fruits will split between males and females. Sometimes, they even work in pairs. When the chicks leave the nest, robins will forage together. Their main tools in catching their favorite prey are the eyes and ears. These sharp senses work together.
So here is their technique: robins forage the ground, searching all through leaves and carpet detritus for bugs and other invertebrates. They tip their cute heads to the side until they hear any movement and detect the location of the prey. Right after, they use their feet and beaks to dig away in pursuit of food.
Easy Tips To Feed Robins in The Garden
The simplest and easiest way to feed robins when they visit your garden is by placing the mix of seeds into a small dish they can easily access.
Be patient about the whole process. Birds are creatures of habit, and you might not attract these visitors immediately. Yet, if you keep the dishes stocked, it probably won’t take too long for robins to come.
However, you can put more effort into feeding and making these seed areas even more accessible and secure. Some of the top feeding accessories are the ground bird feeders, which allow easy access.
Bird tables can also be valuable and helpful in protecting food from other creatures, like cats and dogs. Another option is the covered bird feeders, some unique appliances that will prevent pigeons from stealing all the seeds you put out. Moreover, the coverage will help protect the robins from possible predators.
Robins’ Diet During The Winter?
The robins prefer to eat insects, mainly earthworms and beetles. That is, of course, if they are lucky enough to find them during the cold winter days. The reason why they go for these meals is because they are rich nutrients, nutrients that are vital during these harsh periods.
But since the cold season is not very generous in terms of food, people can help these little birds supplement their diet. If the temperatures drop below the freezing point and the undergrowth of your garden is low, you should make sure you offer the robins more insects.
Some calcium worms or dried mealworms will help robins a lot during the winter months since they will ensure the needed nutrients. If you visit a vet shop, you will find these so-called “winter warmer mixes,” which represent an exceptional source of food that helps robins and other birds get everything they need to keep their energy up.
What Do Robins Eat During Summer?
During spring and the first summer months, robins seek insects and mollusks. This way, they benefit from the necessary calcium and protein intake for egg formation. However, robins will also eat fruits like berries, cherries, strawberries, or blackberries during the late summer months. Furthermore, sunflower seeds and other seeds will be part of their summer menu.
Pay attention to the types of foods you put in the birds’ feeder, and instead of the warming seeds, leave some lighter foods. Considering your garden is busiest during the warm months, you should ensure plenty of food is supplied so the robins will be safe from other creatures.
Best Kitchen Scraps To Feed Robins
You don’t always need to go to the pet shop to offer robins the best kind of food. There are plenty of ingredients that are already in your kitchen that robins will simply love. By offering them some of your pantry’s goods, you will save lots of money and food waste.
- Fruits are always a good idea; however, you will need to cut them into tiny pieces so that the birds can digest them easily. Pears, apples, bananas, forest fruits, and even grapes will always be ideal for robins. Keep in mind that all these fruits are high in fructose, so try limiting them in birds’ diet;
- Grated cheese is also a great idea and will offer enough fats to the little birds; some mild cheddar cheese is always welcome;
- Some tiny raisins or sultanas, a bit soaked in some little warm water, will be enough to feed the small robins quickly.
Avoid These Foods In Robins’ Diet
Even if you prepare some cheese to feed the robins, leave milk out. Their stomach cannot digest lactose, as it does not contain the essential enzymes. So, yes, milk can make the robins ill.
Likewise, do not offer these birds any salty foods. Birds cannot digest salt, so avoid any crushed salted nuts, even the dry roasted ones. Furthermore, avoid bread and any flour products as they provide little nutritional value.
Do Robins Eat During The Night?
Robins are birds that will start singing from dawn and will not stop until late at night. Even during the winter months, robins keep singing to defend their territories. More than the singing ability, robins can also forage in low light levels.
The BTO’s Shortest Day Survey research suggests that robins can look for food during nighttime due to their large eyes. This way, more light can enter the eye, and robins will be able to feed themselves even during low levels of luminosity.
Robins have a simple diet based on insects, seeds, fruits, and nuts. If you want to help them survive during wintertime, you can offer them a mix of grains and enhance their diet with nutrients and vitamins.