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How to help robins through the winter in your garden

How to help robins through the winter in your garden

Home gardeners can plant some of their favorite food sources. Trees and shrubs that provide fruits such as Indian plum, thimbleberry, bitter cherry, huckleberry, and are good choices.

Planting trees and shrubs that provide cover is important. Some good choices are vine maple, currant, ocean spray, and California wax myrtle.
If you'd like to attract robins at bird feeders, feed them chopped apples, berries and mealworms. They don't eat birdseed. They prefer to forage for their food in lawns and open areas.


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Providing water is important for robins because they like to drink and bathe regularly. A shallow pond with a muddy area is ideal since robins use mud for nest building. Birdbaths with misters and drippers will also appeal to these birds.

Nest platforms offer robins a place to build a nest. Plans for platforms can be found in books or on the Internet.
Robins have many predators. Domestic and feral (wild) cats kill many robins each year. Young robins are especially vulnerable when they are learning to fly because they are on the ground. Crows, jays, owls, and hawks prey on baby robins.

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Most robins spend much time in bushes and trees where they hide from predators, rest, raise their young, and find protection from the weather. They use dense evergreen trees and shrubs, dead trees or snags, and nesting boxes. Suburban areas with a mixture of lawns, flowerbeds, gardens, shrubs, and trees make excellent robin habitat.

Pesticides, or chemicals put on the land, can kill or harm robins. Pesticides also may kill worms and insects, a major food source for robins. The robins are affected when they eat the poisoned worms or berries. We can help keep robins safe by keeping cats indoors, setting out nest platforms, and by not using chemicals on our lawns and plants.

Robins help control insect populations. They also are very important for spreading seeds and for the growth of new trees and bushes in new areas. The fruit they eat contains seeds, which robins may drop in other places.


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