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What Do Robins Eat?
While we traditionally think of them pulling worms out of the ground in spring, American robins actually eat a variety of different foods. I’ve listed all the most common ones here.
What Do Robins Eat?
American robins eat mostly fruit and berries, along with a mixture of insects and worms. They can also eat specific nuts, seeds, suet, and small vertebrates if they’re hungry enough.
Fruit makes up about half of a robin’s diet. They love berries of all varieties best, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, winterberries, strawberries, juniper, holly, and honeysuckle. They can also eat apples, grapes, and cherries.
In fall and winter, they tend to eat more fruit than they do in spring and early summer, when there’s less fruit available and bugs are everywhere. (Here’s a whole post on what robins eat in the winter.)
Luckily, there’s an easy way for you to offer them fruit year-round: planting plenty of bushes and trees! You can also leave raisins, chopped apples, pears, and berries out for them to snack on. They’ve even been known to enjoy all-natural grape jelly! Leave their food on a wide tray or on the ground – they don’t like traditional feeders.
Insects and Worms
As you might expect, worms nearly top the list of a robin’s favorite foods. But they also enjoy various insects, like beetles, spiders, snails, caterpillars, flies, grasshoppers, and crickets.
Robin chicks can only eat worms for the first few days of their lives. They gradually work up to insects and later the full range of robin foods. Mother robins also load up on insects before nesting to create healthier eggs.
If you’re trying to offer high-protein foods to your robins, scattering mealworms is your best bet. The birds prefer live ones, but dried mealworms are easier to feed. Consider putting them out early in the morning or late the night before – robins tend to eat more worms in the morning, and they’ll feast on fruit later on in the day.
Less Common Foods
Robins occasionally eat the following foods, but usually only in winter when they’re extra hungry and there are no other options for them. They don’t eat them frequently enough to be considered a major robin food source, so it’s not worth offering any of them during other times of the year.
Nuts and Seeds
Robins occasionally eat various nuts and seeds, most commonly shelled peanuts and sunflower hearts. However, they won’t eat at many traditional feeders and don’t like most of the options offered in birdseed mixes.
You might see a robin nibbling on suet if it’s on the ground and not in a traditional suet feeder. They’ll usually only pick this food source in late winter or early spring when they’re short on bug-based protein.
Fish and Other Creatures
Robins will sometimes eat small fish, frogs, and garter snakes when their preferred foods aren’t available.
Enjoy Your Robins!
With this list, you should now have a good understanding of what robins eat, along with what foods you can offer to see more of them. Enjoy the robins that visit your backyard!