Feeding Robins

miss_huffMay 23, 2007


I am just starting to feed birds. My feeder, now that I have a baffle, is working out well for the cardinals, chickadees, and woodpeckers. I have in it black oil sunflower seeds.

1)Do robins eat this seed?

2)Do they feed off the ground only? They will come all the way to me on my front porch in the evenings, but I've never seen one actually fly up to a feeder. Do I need to put seed on the ground for them?

3)How do I tell a male/female robin apart?

4)Are they known for being this friendly/brave?

5)Do they travel together?

They seem so friendly, so I'd like to accomodate them if a feeder (sunflower seeds) from a shepherd's hook is not what they like.

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Robins do not eat seed that I know of. They are insect eaters especially earthworms. Some will eat raisins and other fruits and/or peanut butter suet. Some do not. The robins where I live have ate it and have tried to steal the mealworms I put out for the bluebirds.

I think robins are "friendly" for a bird. The male is darker in colors than the female. They very aggressively defend their territory durning nesting season. The male chases males and the female will chase females out of their territory. In the fall they travel together in large flocks during migration.

Rural SW Indiana

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 1:45PM
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Renee, The friendliest thing you can do is to put out the sprinkler and bring the worms up to the surface, the Robins love to hop around in it and like the easy pickins too. You could feed them meal worms but expect to go through $$$$$$ I go through 15 to 20 THOUSAND worms in a nesting season for my cavity nesting birds, Robbins could go through that many in a week!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 2:40PM
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I have tons of Robins in the garden, including 3 new ones which just fledged today.

When I sit down to work a section of bed, a couple of the adult Robins will come and stand about 10 feet from me, waiting for me to toss them worms. I throw them about halfway between us, and they scurry over for them, and then dash back to the 10 foot distance.

When I talk to them, or whistle, they cock their heads like curious puppies. They're great garden companions, and they love shopping for worms in my woodchip paths.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 2:47PM
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I did the sprinkler thing last summer. It was blistering hot and not a bird showed any interest in it. I have bird baths instead.

I cannot afford to feed mealworms to Robins. Talk about being eating out of house and home. lol My dh thinks I'm nuts feeding the BBs as it is.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:17PM
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Well that explains it!! My yard is in full shade, and I need a play area, so it is almost all cypress mulch on dirt. So that's why I have so many robins! Now, they do come when I am watering! But, to give them water, do I need to put it on the ground? I have water in a birdbath, but they won't use it. But they drink out of the top of my neighbor's nasty Jeep cover!? Maybe I should place the water saucer on the ground where they are??

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:51PM
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Robins will use a birdbath. Sometimes with Cedar Waxwings for company.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 10:34PM
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Miss Huff....the Robins are very much "water birds",at least around these parts. Wet earth (either from rain or watering the lawn) is very beneficial in that it brings earthworms to the surface and earthworms are a mainstay of the Robins diet. They also use mud to construct their nests so they need a "mud puddle" to help with nest construction. We had a pair of Robins that were in a "nesting" frame of mind and we hadn't had any significant rainfall so we wet a large area at the foot of our drive way (its pretty muddy there) and they used it to build their nest. Robins keep our birdbaths quite busy here all the time (they are great bathers....they take lots) so don't give up on your birdbath....they will use it.....just give it some more time. (We do have one female Robin here that likes peanut butter suet....and they will eat apples slices, too.)


    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 11:33PM
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Perfect picture! Thanks!

I think, everyone, my problem is the size of my birdbath! I already had a post that had a sundial on it. I removed the dial, and put a ceramic, glazed pot's bottom on top. My daughter fills it with water every day and put a few rocks in it for the dragonflies.

However, it's only about 12" in diameter, and probably is not very steady. So I'm guessing I need a bigger, real birdbath!??

I was trying to save money, but it might be a good investment.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 8:43AM
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Hi I feed the birds and have a Robin come to my garden for the winter I've been putting Meal Worms out, Sunflower Harts and Raisins The robin loves them I came across this post as I was browsing the net to see if Robin's would feed from a feeder as this morning I watched the Robin fly to the feeder and quickly grab some food and fly away. I think he can see the meal worms inside it.

I had started to put some meal worms in the feeder with sunflower harts and raisins as all the other big birds and starlings were taking them as soon as I'd put it out and the little birds didn't get a look in. So for the first time today I saw the robin attempt the feeder must be cos he can see the worms in there.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 7:31AM
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We have several Robins who indeed eat seed. They feed from the ground and our feeders that have high quality sunflower seed. It is the end of June and four sets of hardworking parents have brought their babies (3) and older fledglings (4) to our garden. The little ones stay all day. Parents are still eating seeds (!) -- Our garden here in Oregon is beautiful this year. We have numerous birds from dawn to dusk. "Our" Robins are favorites, with intense color variations and very robust.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 3:13AM
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donald lucius

i pick 4 to 6 buckets of apples every fall to use during the winter. store them in a cool dark pump house and by late march or april they are starting to get soft or mealy
and the ones left i start putting out in the yard for the birds. the jays and magpies were eating them in no time till a pair of robins showed up during a late snow shower,
they decided the apples were their treat and ate several a day. each day i would go out and whistle and put out some more apples. before i could get back in the house they showed up to eat. Robins leave here in the hot dry summers and head up to the mountains and cooler places but show up again every spring.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:41AM
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I'm learning so much from this post! I just got a new zoom lens for my camera yesterday and I'm really getting into bird-watching! I have a nice bird-friendly yard and I'm just starting to set up a bird feeding station in the middle of one of my daylily/rose beds because of the good ground cover for shy birds.

We lost a lot of our local robins from west nile a couple years ago and they are back in force, finally, this year. It just wasn't summer without our robins. I love the idea of using the sprinkler to bring up worms.

I do have one warning tho. Raisins are deadly to dogs and if you have dogs, please don't put raisins on the ground where your dogs can get them. I just bought a bag of bird feed last weekend and didn't notice that it had raisins in it. I went thru that whole bag, piece by piece and picked out all the raisins and threw them away. We have two little breed dogs and they love to run around in our fenced in yard/garden. I don't want to lose a dog and I would feel horrible if I accidentally fed them raisins.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raisin toxicity

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 3:27PM
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