Taking care of robins
With its red-breasted plumage and tuneful song, the robin is associated with Christmastime. They’re actually around all year, but in winter you’re most likely to hear them at their loudest, as this is when the males travel greater distances in search of a mate.
Robins are renowned for nesting in unusual locations, from under car bonnets to derelict buildings and sheds, hanging baskets and farm machinery. As for all birds, surviving the winter months with plummeting temperatures and less available food is difficult, but with a few simple steps you can help them.
If you have a bird table, place it near a hedge, tree or bush to provide cover from predators. When buying and positioning a nest box to attract robins and other birds, it should be open-fronted and face between north and east to avoid strong sunlight. It’s best to site it in a concealed location among foliage.
Suet balls and seed mixes containing sunflower seeds will provide invaluable energy during the coldest days. Mealworms are also a great favourite with most small birds. Try to replenish food and water supplies regularly so birds will realise that there’s food in your garden and return.
When temperatures drop below freezing, dehydration can become a serious threat to birds. Leave out a dish of fresh water alongside food so they can drink and have a bath. Clean feathers trap more air, helping birds to retain essential body warmth.
Robins are at their loudest in winter as they search for a mate