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What do I feed a robin in the winter?


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daisybeans

annapolis md
Posts: 3675
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:32 am   Post subject: What do I feed a robin in the winter?


Help!
This evening when I got home at about dusk there were at least 15 or more ROBINS flitting around and sitting on my fence all puffed up against the cold. They looked a little frantic because most of the ground is snow covered. They seemed to be looking in my neighbors brick planters that are up against the house and where the snow has melted.

NEVER have I seen robins here is the winter. I am wondering why they are here... But more importantly, I am wondering what to put out for them. I know in summer they eat worms and bugs... I've been putting out seeds, fruit, peanuts, and crackers which the other birds and squirrels are making use of... but not the robins.

I'm not at all well informed about birds... Please, advise, so I can offer the poor things some sustenance.

Thanks!




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thepondlady
Utah
Posts: 380
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:00 am   


I just put out wild bird seed and each kind of bird takes the kind of seeds they prefer. the robin are pretty happy with this arrangement they come back everyday to fill there bellies. Its a race though because each day the hog birds {scrub jays} raid the feeders, emptying them then they are off to find others. Rotten birds they are. I manage to make sure they all get a good feed twice a day between raids.

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eileen


Forum Moderator

Scotland
Posts: 22732
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:18 am   


Our robins appreciate broken up fat balls full of seeds. I also give mine live meal worms.

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daisybeans

annapolis md
Posts: 3675
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:26 am   


Thank you for suggestions, PL and Eileen.

Eileen, broken up fat balls... I need a "recipe." I have a can full of bacon fat in my freezer -- would that suffice? Just scoop it out and roll it in seeds? Do robins eat suet? Do they eat peanut butter? I have heard also about putting peanut butter with seeds on pine cones and things?

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daisybeans

annapolis md
Posts: 3675
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:35 am   


I've just read about getting frozen cherries at the grocery, thawing and cutting them for the robins. Anyone ever heard of that?

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eileen


Forum Moderator

Scotland
Posts: 22732
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:11 am   


Daisy robins here are insect eaters but will take seeds and suet during hard times in winter. I put out various berries for the birds but have never seen 'my' robins touching any of it. The bacon fat is fine but peanut butter is too sticky for them and they could have real problems with it.

All I do to make up fat balls is melt beef dripping or suet in a large pot and stir in all the different seeds, crushed nuts etc. I then pour it into containers (they don't have to be round) and let it set in the 'fridge overnight.

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bethie

WestTennessee
Posts: 1569
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:26 pm   


Here robins will eat jelly, especially preserves. I just buy generic for them. If you have old fruit in the freezer they will eat that too.They will eat raisins. Here I have a lot of autumn olives planted and I pick and freeze bags of berries in the summer just for them and the bluebirds to have now.

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bethie

WestTennessee
Posts: 1569
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:31 pm   


You can go a lot of ways on a suet cake recipe. I use generic lard, old fashioned oatmeal and peanut butter. Heat the lard and put the other stuff in it.I dump mixed birdseed into this. I then use any old dry cereals I have in it, leftover fruit, nuts etc. I harden the cakes in yogurt containers and then freeze them in a ziploc. Cool

We have nails on top of all our feeders where we put out oranges and apples cut in half for the fruit eaters.

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Sjoerd

West - Friesland
Posts: 9107
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:42 pm   


Daisy, I believe that robins primarily like protein--like insects, worms etc. However, they do like fruit. I wonder what small fruits like grapes blueberries or Punica granatum fruit can be found in your supermarkets there. I just canĀ“t think of the common name for the Punica granatum at the moment.
Perhaps small cut up apple bits.

I am truly amazed to hear that the robins are there already (or this late).

That is quite interesting, indeed.



Last edited by Sjoerd on Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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daisybeans

annapolis md
Posts: 3675
Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:47 pm   


I'm so happy to get these ideas from all of you. I love all the love you show for the furred and feathered friends of ours! Right now, it is bitter cold and getting ready to sleet so there is not a bird or squirrel to be seen outside.

It is indeed odd that the robins are here. I have never seen it before. They sometimes come early but don't stay late... (like last year, they came back around February 1st, which is earlier than usual, and they were caught off-guard in a snowstorm on Feb 8th).

I read some articles last night that didn't completely clear up the mystery of why they are here, but it answered a few questions about feeding them. Apparently, sometimes the robins get caught off guard if winter swoops in quickly and they don't have time to move to a warmer place -- but that did not happen here this year. In fact, the robins were gone at the usual time in the Fall... The articles I read said that migrating robins tend to travel around in flocks (definately what I saw yesterday) looking for food and water wherever they can find it, and then travelling on quickly. So it's possible that they were just passing through and won't be here this evening. We'll see! It was nice, in a way, to see them because they are my favorite bird... but they looked cold and frantic... I was encouraged to read in the articles that they grow extra feathers for winter (as I'm sure all winter birds do) and are good foragers for food.

In the meantime, I've put out fruit and some suet and other treats that I'm sure will please someone out there in my snowy yard, even if the robins were just passers-by. Before I head out, I'm going to make some fat balls using the recipes you've all suggested and put out some jelly. One of the articles I read said they sometimes have been known to like cold spaghetti. Odd, but maybe the carbs are good for them?

Thank you again for all the ideas.

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aythya-camellia

Toledo, Ohio
Posts: 127
Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:17 pm   


Try mealworms. Sjoerd, the common name for Punica granatum is pomegranate.

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daisybeans

annapolis md
Posts: 3675
Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:48 pm   


Update:

The robins didn't come back yesterday. I made some fat cakes and put them outside. No one ate any... but it was raining and nasty so I didn't see any wildlife stirring around anywhere. Same today. Maybe tomorrow?

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