Ask a Question forum: Hungry Robins

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Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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skits
Apr 14, 2018 11:53 AM CST
While this snowstorm continues I have Robins flying everywhere. I've put out seed for some, but I don't think Robins prefer that. Peanut butter in an ice cream cone? Ideas?
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 14, 2018 12:23 PM CST
The robins are perfectly able to get food on their own.
They can utilize berries, buds, worms, insects and such.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Apr 14, 2018 12:30 PM CST
The diet of the American Robin consists of mainly insects and worms but they also eat berries and fruits. They will also eat meal worms and suet so if the ground is frozen or covered in snow to the extent that they can't get to the grubs, worms etc. you could try placing those items in feeders for them.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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skits
Apr 14, 2018 12:35 PM CST
Plantladylin, thanks for the ideas, but where in the frozen tundra will I come up with worms or grubs? Suet maybe, but I'm not leaving the house during this storm. It's wicked out there.
Name: Janett
Gamleby, SWEDEN
Janett_D
Apr 14, 2018 12:40 PM CST
Crumbled hardboild egg. Oatmeal flakes. crumbled chees and put it on the ground as they are ground eaters.
For got to add apples
[Last edited by Janett_D - Apr 14, 2018 12:42 PM (+)]
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Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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skits
Apr 14, 2018 1:46 PM CST
Thanks Janett. Boiling some eggs. Now to find a place where they won't be covered too quickly with snow.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Apr 15, 2018 3:23 AM CST
I despise robins. They are lovely, but all they want to do is eat the earthworms in my lawn. I consider them as pests that like the deer that want to eat my hostas. The robins do nothing that seems useful to me.
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
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kniphofia
Apr 15, 2018 3:56 AM CST
Yardenman do you not consider that wildlife has as much right to space and food as you do?
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Apr 15, 2018 4:14 AM CST
kniphofia said:Yardenman do you not consider that wildlife has as much right to space and food as you do?


That is a legitimate question. The answer is "no". I actively discourage deer from eating my hostas. I actively discourage hawks from picking off the goldfinches from my bird feeders. In some places, eagles have taken off human babies.

There are some things we object to.

In my case, I don't like that Robins eat my worms. Can you tell me any good thing that they do by doing that? Sometimes we like animals that look pretty but don't ask if we get any benefit from them.

Which would you prefer? Earthworms in your lawn (which are beneficial) or a bird that just eats them and has no other value?

Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 15, 2018 4:15 AM CST
During the natural ebb and flow of our climate over thousands of years, don't you think we have had serious spring storms before? Yet critters survive.
Sure the robins and other fauna will suffer with this storm but they will survive. Maybe a bad year is ahead for robins but who can honestly say?
They may lay an extra egg this year, maybe raise two broods instead of one, they will survive.
It is all part of nature, the ebb and flow of life. Sure they may have a down year or two but they will be back.
Robins eat a good deal of grubs in a lawn, spiders, weed seeds along with worms. But how many times do you think that they come across egg?!? They might not recognize it as food.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 15, 2018 4:20 AM CST
Babies carried off by eagles??? My goodness.
So everything must have a value for you in order for you tolerate its presence?
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Apr 15, 2018 4:39 AM CST
BigBill said:Babies carried off by eagles??? My goodness.
So everything must have a value for you in order for you tolerate its presence?


No, of course not. I once sat and watched a snake struggle to swallow a rather large complaining frog i(t grabbed it awkwardly) for 30 minutes. Neither outcome matterred to me. The snake won eventually, BTW. But some things can have negative values. Robins are of negative value to me. Groundhogs are of negative value to me.

If I could magically eliminate every deer within a 100 miles of here, for example, I would. They are just pests that eat my plants.

Name: Scott
Tampa FL (Westchase)
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ScotTi
Apr 15, 2018 5:05 AM CST
Yardenman, Are you really worried by Robins eating a few earthworms?
You need to take some time and read up on the value of birds in our ecosystem. They help control insect populations and help by spreading seed of plants.
Certain human activities from pollution to overharvesting is what has left some of our ecosystems in bad shape.
The native wildlife (including Robins) are not the problem, we as humans are.
Name: Janett
Gamleby, SWEDEN
Janett_D
Apr 15, 2018 5:31 AM CST
BigBill said:Edit out for space....
Robins eat a good deal of grubs in a lawn, spiders, weed seeds along with worms. But how many times do you think that they come across egg?!? They might not recognize it as food.

Birds doesn't just go by look looking for food they do it by smell too and yes Robins eat egg even pure butter and cheese and its a really good supplement when they arrive early and harsh winter suddenly comes back and they cant get the natural food.

Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 15, 2018 6:51 AM CST
Robins eating eggs, butter and cheese? I learn something every day.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Janett
Gamleby, SWEDEN
Janett_D
Apr 15, 2018 7:33 AM CST
BigBill said:Robins eating eggs, butter and cheese? I learn something every day.

I have actually for years made my own tallow balls using the thick layer of fat from my Xmas ham, I run it in the mixer then I just put that it in a coconut shell and sometimes I mix in seeds and nuts

Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
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katesflowers
Apr 15, 2018 8:38 AM CST
I find it fascinating how we gardeners, from all corners of the world, respond to wild life. Thank you for sharing. I have no grudge against robins. Enjoy their company, and don't mind that they feast on worms from my garden. I have an average garden, and estimate 25 worms per square foot. I can share.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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skits
Apr 16, 2018 2:44 PM CST
Wow. What a hornet's nest I stirred! (And, sorry, they can leave the planet.) Yes, most of the robins will probably survive the storm. The last big storm I remember coming in May only killed the very young, not the mamas. Either way, I cannot watch any living thing ('cept hornets -- and flies, maybe, but having seen young boys in my youth pull their legs, that's even debatable) from suffering. I did put out crushed egg and I did see robins in the area. I did not personally see them with egg on their face, but I gave them the opportunity. I also left seed in my "aviary" (dozens were under my awning) for the small wrens and chickadees because the red wing black birds were keeping them from the regular feeders. AND IT MADE ME FEEL GOOD! So there.
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Apr 16, 2018 3:24 PM CST
@Yardenman

Actually, the fact that robins eat earthworms makes them very beneficial. The vast majority of earthworms that we find in our yards and gardens are invasive European and Asian species. Most of the northern part of the USA and Canada don't even have any native earthworms. These invasive earthworms are destroying the soil structure of the forest floors and consume the seeds needed to regenerate the forest. Despite any perceived benefit in our gardens, they are NOT beneficial to our native ecosystems.

https://www.npr.org/templates/...
https://www.newscientist.com/a...

Skits, I'm sure those lucky birds are very thankful for an easy meal during the nasty weather. Big Grin
Name: Dux
Central Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
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duxallinarow
Apr 21, 2018 5:50 AM CST
skits said:While this snowstorm continues I have Robins flying everywhere. I've put out seed for some, but I don't think Robins prefer that. Peanut butter in an ice cream cone? Ideas?


Good question, and I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I follow the WI DNR's suggestion and put out some meal worms for my little buddies. You can get bags of freeze-dried meal worms at many local pet shops. I scattered them on the snow around my feeders, and the robins found them within minutes. In some areas with heavy snow cover, the DNR describes the bird situation as a significant crisis. These late snows are covering up ground food just when these migrators are most vulnerable and starting to nest.
Glad to hear others are doing their parts.

<https://www.nbc26.com/news/national/spring-wisconsin-snow-could-lead-to-a-lot-of-dead-birds>
“If your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.”
-- Bill Watterson, American author of the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, (b.1958)

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