Wild Bird Sunflower Hearts and Robins
If you provide for the visitors to your garden then you are almost certain to see robins from time to time. Robins (Erithacus rubecula) are probably Britain’s favourite wild birds and their distinctive red breasts are always a welcome site. Synonymous with Christmas, but resident all year round, robins are a national treasure!
Robins are plump birds with prominent red breasts. The male and female of the species are almost identical in appearance. Juveniles are speckled and brown and do not have red feathers. This is so that adult birds do not attack them during disputes.
Where to See Robins
You will see robins throughout the British Isles except in the most northerly Scottish islands. They are present year round and during the winter months our resident birds are joined by migrants from Europe. These birds mostly arrive from Scandinavia. The migrant robins are paler than indigenous birds and are generally less tame.
Robins are territorial birds. During the summer they defend areas for breeding and the rest of the year they hold territories for feeding. They will defend these to the death and will even attack their own reflection! You may not see robins in July and August when they are moulting and so hide away. Other than leaving out wild bird seed, the best way to see robins in your garden is to dig. They will then swoop down to gather worms.
Robins boast a melodic warble which can sound more mournful in the winter. They can sing all night and this was originally thought to be due to street lighting tricking them into believing it was daytime. It is now thought more likely that robins enjoy singing when it is quiet as they can be heard more easily. Their alarm call is a loud ticking sound.
Wild Bird Sunflower Hearts, Worms and Fruit Cake
Robins enjoy feeding on insects and worms. They love wild bird sunflower hearts and also appreciate sweet foods like fruit cake. Mealworms are also a good food to offer if you are looking to attract the birds to your garden. They may be prepared to feed from your hand.
The nests are built from grass, moss and dead leaves and then lined with hair and wool. Robins usually locate their nests in holes they find in tree stumps, banks or walls. They may take up residence in an open fronted nesting box. Between 3 and 9 eggs are laid and incubated by the female. Their incubation period is 12 to 15 days. Young birds are fed by both parents and fledge after about two weeks.
Robins are not endangered and the British population is thriving. There are estimated to be over 6 million breeding pairs in the UK. However, cold winters can seriously deplete the robin population. This is when it is particularly important to provide wild bird sunflower hearts for them to feed on as worms and insects will be in short supply.
In 1960 the robin was declared to be our national bird. They will always be treasured visitors to our gardens.