The American Robin's diet consists of earthworms, mealworms, snails, caterpillars, and grubs. When insects are in short supply, they switch to fruit and berries. To keep these ground-foragers fed, plant fruit-bearing bushes, add a table feeder, and always keep your lawn cut short and watered.
Ever wonder why Robin’s aren’t interested in your backyard hanging bird-feeders? While bird-feeders are an excellent hub for most North American songbirds, robins are more interested foraging for insects, nuts, and berries. This is because robins like to eat in open spaces, and travel on the ground frequently in search of food.
To ensure that your friendly Robin is fed this summer (and winter), it’s essential to know what they like to eat! Instead of heading down to the store for a bag of seeds, a great way to feed Robins is to ensure they have easy access to earthworms!
One great tip for keeping your robins fed is keeping your lawn cut short and watering the soil so it stays nice and moist to draw those juicy bugs to the surface.
Attracting Robins to Your Backyard
If you want to attract Robin songbirds to your backyard, your best bet is to provide a solid and reliable source of food. Investing in bird tables stocked with mealworm suet, sunflower hearts, peanuts, and berries is also a great way of attracting robins, and a few well-placed berry bushes help them stay fed when bugs are in short supply!
Aside from gathering the proper food supplies for the American robin, investing in some good nesting boxes, birdbaths, and their favorite plants is another excellent place to start. Check out some of these tips to draw these beautiful red-breast invertebrates to your backyard space!
Ditch the Hanging Bird Feeders
Hanging bird feeders are great for many breeds of small birds, but robins simply won’t use them. Robins are foraging ground-feeding wild birds, and they won’t perch on a hanging feeder or eat classic Nyjer seed songbird mix with sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and thistle.
Instead, purchase some bird tables that are typically positioned lower to the ground for foraging and fill them with mealworm suet chunks, peanuts, berries, sunflower hearts, and other food rich in calcium.
Invest in Birdbaths Equipped to Handle Any Time of Year
Birds need clean access to water, especially in the harsh winter months. Investing in a year-round frost-resistant birdbath is a great way to draw the North America robin to your yard. Ensure that you keep it clean and stocked with fresh water.
Plant Robin-Friendly Shrubs
When insects become scarce, an American robin’s diet consists primarily of berries. Planting suitable bushes may even attract Robins in the wintertime!
A few winter-persistent shrub ideas include Winterberry, Nannyberry, Staghorn Sumac, and Northern Barberry. These bushes produce fruit in early to late fall and continue to provide seeds and fruit for local wild birds such as the robin well into the winter months.
In the video below, we rounded up 10 little known facts about Robins!
Robins Best Food Source – Earthworms
The American robins calls on its impressive sense of sight and hearing to track down earthworms in the soil. Have you ever noticed a robin scurrying around your lawn, coming to a stop, and cocking its head side to side?
That’s how robins track down juicy earthworms. Robins have what is called monocular vision, which means that each eye operates independently. When a robin moves its head to one side, it uses that eye to peer more closely at the soil for an earthworm!
Robins also use their acute sense of hearing to track down earthworms wiggling in the soil. While we may not be able to listen to earthworms in the soil (thank goodness- what a nightmare that would be), robins can. In addition to hearing, robins can feel light movements of worms under their feet.
By using their keen sense of sight and hearing in addition to touch, Robins can easily detect earthworms in the soil. However, there are some instances where tracking down a tasty treat proves to be a little more difficult, you can try to do the following to help them.
How Can I Help Robin’s Find Earthworms?
Keep your lawn cut short. When grass becomes too high, there is too much distance between the blade of grass and the soil. Robins can spot earthworms in the dirt, but if the grass is too high, it is more challenging to see or hear them.
Water your lawn during a drought. Wet soil often brings earthworms closer to the surface. During a summer drought, earthworms bury deeper into the ground. After a rain, many earthworms wiggle their way to the surface for air.
You might notice earthworms on the sidewalk after a fresh rain shower. If the weather has been dry without rain for a few days, watering your lawn helps bring bugs to the surface for a quick and easy snack for Robins.
Hold off on Raking Leaves. Fallen leaves serve two purposes earthworms and grubs. They offer nutrient-rich soil and make more noise in leaves than in soil. Robins have an easier time foraging through wet leaves for caterpillars and snails in leaves and mulch than on manicured lawns.
If your neighbors are urging you to rake your leaves, tell them you’re helping your neighborhood wild birds!
Skip Fabric Weed-Blockers. Fabric weed blockers are great because they prevent weeds from popping up in your garden, but Robins hate them. While they do a good job taming weeds, they make it harder for Robins to fish out tasty grubs, termites, grasshoppers, or Earthworms.
What do Robins Eat in the Winter?
When bugs become scarce, Robins react by following food sources and dine on leftover fall berries and fruit in the winter months.
Bird watchers in the colder parts of the United States may not spot a Robin until early spring- but that doesn’t mean they migrated south.
In the winter, Robin’s that didn’t travel to a warmer area like to travel in large flocks to find food sources such as blueberries and other winter fruit such as junipers, hollies, and crabapples.