How to attract robins to your garden
The robin is officially Britain’s favourite feathered friend - back in 2015 it topped a poll to find the nation’s most beloved bird. Easy to recognise, robins are also one of our most common birds, with a population of roughly six or seven million.
This adaptable species is one of the birds often seen in gardens. Here are some tips on how to encourage robins to visit your own patch.
What do robins eat?
The easiest way to attract a robin to your garden is to provide a source of food. Insects and invertebrates make up most of a robin’s diet, with seeds and fruit also eaten in winter. Mealworms are an ideal bird food for robins, but they will take seeds and soft fruit too. Robins tend to forage on the floor, so a ground feeding tray or bird table is the ideal type of feeder. They will also visit hanging feeders as long as there is somewhere to perch.
Your garden will be even better for robins if you make it a home for their natural prey. Encourage invertebrates by allowing parts of the garden to grow wild. Planting trees and adding features like a log pile or compost heap will help too. These minibeasts will provide food for robins and a host of other wildlife.
Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/Tim Gainey
How and when do robins nest?
If you’d like robins to nest in your garden, the good news is that they’re not a fussy species when it comes to raising young. Almost any sheltered spot, hidden from the view of predators, can be used. Typical natural nesting spots include inside hedges, climbing plants and other dense vegetation. Robins are famed for nesting in weird and wonderful locations too, ranging from under car bonnets to inside old boots!
Robins will also use nest boxes. They prefer designs with an open front and are most likely to use them if they’re under natural cover such as ivy or other climbing plants. Eggs are laid anytime between late March and June, with two or three broods often raised.
Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/Loop Images Ltd
How to make birds feel safe
Robins, and other birds, are more likely to spend time in your garden if they feel safe from predators like cats. Ideally, bird feeders should be positioned around 2m away from dense vegetation. This will reduce the chance of a surprise attack by cats, and means birds can still easily retreat to cover if needed.
Nest boxes should be placed in a quiet area of your garden out of the reach of cats. Facing the box between north and east is ideal as this will avoid exposure to the strongest sunlight and wettest winds. Bird feeders should be cleaned regularly to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria. Nest boxes should be cleaned, with old nests removed, each autumn. Make sure birds have stopped using the box before you take any action. By following these steps you can increase the chances of attracting not just robins, but a whole host of birds to your garden too.
Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/Beara Creative