What Do Robins Eat In The Winter? Keep Them Around

As winter sets in, you might wonder how your local wildlife copes with the colder months, particularly the cheerful robin. A robin is infamous for being a common backyard bird and a welcome sight in many yards. One question you may ask is, what do robins eat in the winter?

Most of the year, robins primarily rely on a diet of insects, earthworms, and fruit. Additionally, robins are common NYC birds, so you can see them feasting on mulberries in the spring but juniper berries in the winter!

Being able to adapt, they switch their focus to consuming a more significant number of fruits and berries, such as juniper berries, dogwood, and sumac. This change in their diet allows robins to continue thriving even in the harshest winter conditions.

If you’re interested in helping your local robins through the winter months, consider planting some berry-producing shrubs in your garden or providing a bird feeder stocked with their favorite fruits.

By offering these resources, you can lend a helping hand to these remarkable birds and attract more robins to brighten up your yard in the snowy months.

What Do Robins Eat In The Winter

What Do Robins Eat In The Winter

During winter, you may notice robins foraging for food in your yard or local parks. While their diet changes depending on seasonal availability, it generally consists of insects, fruits, and berries.

As the cold weather sets in, insects and other invertebrates become scarce. Therefore, robins rely more on fruits and berries for sustenance. Some familiar sources of winter food include crabapples, holly, and juniper. Additionally, they may consume:

Robins eat winter berries

  • Mountain ash berries
  • Viburnum berries
  • Elderberry
  • Sumac fruits
  • Rose hips

You can make your yard more attractive to robins by planting native shrubs and trees that produce winter fruits, such as hawthorns and dogwoods.

Although robins don’t typically eat from traditional bird feeders, you can offer them mealworms, suet, or softened dried fruits such as raisins, currants, and dried berries. Place these treats on a tray or ground feeder to make them more accessible for robins.

Remember to watch for robins in your area during winter, as they will be busy searching for food. If you’re an avid birder, you may also want to learn: what woodpeckers eat too!

Robins Make Winter Adjustments

Foraging Behavior: What Do Robins Eat in The Winter?

During winter, you’ll notice that robins change their foraging behavior. Instead of searching for insects hidden in the ground or trees, they’ll focus more on finding fruit, specifically berries.

Robins’ transition ability helps them maintain the necessary energy levels to survive the cold months. You’ll often see them congregating in flocks, increasing their chances of locating food sources together.

Adaptable Diet

Your backyard robins will adjust their diet to the limited resources available in winter. While they still prefer earthworms and insects, these food sources become scarce due to the cold temperatures.

You’ll often find robins consuming fruits and berries from trees, shrubs, and vines, such as:

  • Crabapples
  • Viburnum berries
  • Elderberry
  • Hawthorn berries
  • Dogwood berries
  • Mistletoe

Robins eat winter berries like crabapple and hawthorne

Switching to an adaptable diet enables these birds to sustain themselves during the cold months while providing valuable services, like controlling insect populations when the weather warms.

So, the next time you see robins in your backyard during the winter, remember that they’ve made intelligent adjustments to their foraging behavior and diet to survive the harsh conditions.

Common Winter Food Sources for Robins

As the winter season approaches, you might be curious about what your backyard robins eat during these colder months.

Fruits and Berries

Robin eating a mountain ash berry

In winter, when insects become scarce, fruit and berries become the primary source of nourishment for robins. Keep an eye out for them feasting on the following common winter fruits:

  • Crabapples
  • Hawthorn berries
  • Holly berries
  • Rosehips
  • Elderberry
  • Juniper berries
  • Wild grapes
  • Dogwood berries
  • Mountain ash berries

Try planting some fruit-bearing plants to ensure your garden can support robins in winter. They’ll provide sustenance to these lovely birds and give your winter landscape a burst of color and life.

Insects and Invertebrates

Though not as abundant as in warmer months, robins still rely on insects and invertebrates found in the winter landscape for nourishment. They’ll often be seen foraging beneath leaf litter or in the snow, searching for these critters:

  • Earthworms
  • Beetles
  • Caterpillars
  • Spiders
  • Snails

You can help make your garden more insect-friendly by avoiding pesticides and creating habitat areas (away from your house). These habitat areas can include log piles or compost heaps, where insects can thrive.

These insect areas will also benefit robins as they access varied food sources, even during the frosty winter.

Helping Robins in Winter

To recap, focus on food and shelter when thinking about helping your neighborhood robins in the winter.

Providing Food Sources

You can help robins in winter by providing food sources such as fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. Here are some options to consider:

  • Crabapples
  • Hawthorns
  • Holly
  • Juniper
  • Elderberry
  • Rosehips
  • Dogwood

Additionally, you can offer them suet and mealworms in a ground feeder or platform feeder near the natural shelter.

Natural Sheltering Options

To make your yard more attractive to robins in winter, offer them natural shelters by creating a bird-friendly landscape. Incorporate these features:

  • Evergreen trees: Offer year-round cover that helps protect robins from harsh weather and predators.
  • Brush piles: Encourage insects, a natural food source for robins, and provide a hiding spot.
  • Water source: Offer a shallow birdbath or pond with a heater to prevent freezing.

With these simple steps, you can help robins survive the winter months and provide them with the necessary resources to thrive.

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