How To Help Robins Survive The Harsh Winter Weather

How To Help Robins Survive The Harsh Winter Weather
Written by MAGASIR

how to help robins survive the harsh winter weather

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With temperatures having already dipped below freezing here in the UK this winter, and reports of us likely experiencing a colder, drier and less windy winter, this can cause problems for many of our native birds. And this is especially true for what many view as Britain’s ‘national bird’ — the Robin Redbreast.

After record heatwaves in the summer and an unseasonably warm October and November, now followed by a harsh winter, these unusual and unpredictable weather patterns cause confusion and throw the natural cycles of certain species out of sync.

A robin can also use up to 10 per cent of its body weight to keep warm on a single night during the winter, and with overnight temperatures plummeting to below zero, experts are urging households to provide robins and other native birds with food and drinking water in their gardens to help them survive these volatile weather conditions.

Sean McMenemy, garden wildlife expert and director of Ark Wildlifeshares how we can help robins this winter.

What are the best foods to put out to support robins and other winter birds?

Because there are fewer hedgerows, there is actually a lack of natural food for birds to eat. Without us supplementing their food in our gardens, it is predicted that up to half of our robins could die of cold and starvation.

The best foods to put out for robins are:

  • Mealworms and calci worms, which are especially beneficial because they are insectivores

  • Fatty foods like suet pellets
  • Special high protein robin blends
  • Meaty kitchen scraps
  • Mild cheese
  • Cake and biscuit crumbs
  • dried fruit
  • (Shredded or crushed) peanuts
    how to help robins survive the harsh winter weather

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    Because robins prefer to forage and feed off the ground, you’ll want to place a small tray full of some of their favorite food close to where they tend to perch or near a shrub tree. That way you can encourage them to make your garden a home.

    ‘If you’re lucky, robins can quickly become confident in our presence and feeding from the hand is not unknown!’ Sean reveals.

    How to make your garden a home for robins

    Birds cluster together during icy spells to share their warmth. ‘They often use nest boxes as winter shelters, so putting up bird nest boxes can make a huge difference,’ says Sean. ‘These will be used as night roosting sites and places for nesting in the spring. Nest boxes should be placed at least 2m from dense vegetation in order to prevent surprise attacks from cats.’

    You’ll also want to place plenty of water sources around your garden. Did you know that bird tables really do make a big difference to the survival rate of robins in urban and suburban areas?

    It’s also worth ensuring that your garden isn’t too pristine or tidy, as some wild undergrowth will encourage insects to gather and reproduce, which will help robins and other winter birds to find food. This is also true for a whole host of other garden wildlife.

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