Robins are often thought of as a sign of spring. But did you know you can attract them to your yard year-round?
To attract robins to your yard, plant trees and shrubs with plenty of fruit. These provide food and safe shelter for robins. They also prefer fruit and insects over birdseed. Cut up fresh fruit for them and don’t use harsh insecticides on your lawn.
In the winter, use a heated birdbath to encourage robins to visit. They don’t migrate far, if at all; they just stay high in the trees away from the cold ground.
Read more about these and other tips for attracting robins to your yard below.
9 Tips For Attracting Robins To Your Yard
1. Don’t Use Birdseed
Unlike many other birds, robins aren’t fans of traditional birdseed. They much prefer fruit, which makes up about 60% of their diet. They supplement the high-energy fruit with insects and worms.
If you only have feeders that contain seed and nuts, don’t expect to see many robins. Instead, create a food station just for robins.
You can still use a feeder, but it should provide fresh, cut-up fruit such as apples, grapes, and strawberries.
A platform feeder is a good option for this kind of food. You can make your own feeder by piercing the fruit with string and hanging it from a tree.
2. Plant Fruiting Shrubs And Trees
In addition to a feeder, you provide natural, seasonal fruits with fruiting trees and shrubs. This can keep your yard looking natural while still attracting robins.
Some good plants include:
- Raspberry bushes
- Strawberry runners
- Blackberry bushes
- Crabapple trees
- Fig trees
3. Provide Clean Water
Like all birds, robins need fresh, clean water for both drinking and bathing. By providing a good water source, you can attract more robins to your yard.
Robins enjoy bird baths in all shapes and sizes. You can use the classic pedestal variety, or a fountain-style bath with moving water.
Change the water every two days or so and give it a full cleaning every two weeks. This will prevent harmful bacteria from growing and making your robins sick.
4. Keep The Water Warm During Winter
When winter comes, they fly higher up into the trees and don’t come down as often. But you can still entice them down with a warm water source.
Even cold birds have to drink! Consider installing a heated bird bath for the winter to attract more robins.
5. Provide Coverage In Trees And Shrubs
Robins like to roost and nest in areas in which they feel safe. Dense foliage is a great option as it hides them from overhead predators and keeps them warm.
If you want to attract robins, keep your yard full of leafy trees and bushy shrubs. They’re more likely to stick around for the winter as well with proper coverage.
6. Make Some Mud
Robins build some pretty clever cup nests during the breeding season. They gather twigs and grass and form a cup with one wing. They may also use scrap pieces of paper and feathers.
Most importantly, robins strengthen their nest by using mud. Once the mud dries, they line the nest with soft, dry grass.
Usually, robins use mud that earthworms create in soft, moist earth. But you can make some mud yourself to make your yard more attractive to robins.
First, take a large, shallow container such as an old trash can lid. Fill it with dirt and water until you get a nice, soft mud that’s not too firm or runny.
Robins will be happy to use your mud to build their nests, hopefully close by in your yard.
7. Build Nesting Platforms
Besides planting trees and shrubs, you can offer visiting robins man-made nesting spots as well.
It also gives them enough space for their nest without crowding them inside a box. They’re easy to build on your own, or you can purchase one.
8. Prepare For Visitors Early
Since robins are year-round birds, you can put food and water out at any time to attract a few visitors. When it comes to breeding season, though, you need to be ready early if you want to see some nests.
Plan for at least the next breeding season if you want to do some planting. Give your trees and bushes time to grow into a proper nesting spot.
Make sure you have your nesting platforms out as soon as the breeding season for your areas starts. If you plan to set up a mud station, have it ready to go as well. Keep the mud moist by checking it on a regular basis.
9. Avoid Lawn Pesticides
One of the best things you can do for local birds is also great for the environment as a whole. Avoid using harsh pesticides, especially on your lawn. These can kill insects that birds like to eat, and can make the birds themselves sick.
Robins like looking for earthworms as a major part of their diet. If you use insecticide on your lawn, those robins are going to come in direct contact with it. This can cause illness or even death.
If robins are getting sick in your yard, you’re not going to have much luck attracting others.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Do Robins Nest And Breed?
The robin mating season runs from March to July across most of the country. In extreme southern states, the breeding season can begin earlier. There are even reports of nests as early as January.
After mating, the incubation period is about two weeks, and fledglings leave the nest in another two weeks. Female robins lay between one and three broods each season, so you may see a lot of baby robins.
What Colors Are Robins Attracted To?
There isn’t much evidence that robins are attracted to any one color in particular.
At best, they show a slight rejection of yellow fruit. Other robins show a slight preference for black and dark blue berries.
So, you can try giving your nesting boxes a coat of dark paint.
You could also try an orange-red that mimics the color of their chests to attract more robins.
Robins may be common all through the U.S., but that doesn’t make them any less desirable. They can add a pop of color and beautiful song to any backyard.
It’s easy to attract robins to your yard all year if you follow our nine handy tips above.