Homeschool Garden Club - Robins

Just before we break up for our Christmas Holidays, I would like to remind you of National Robin Day 21st December is the annual nationwide event raising awareness of small birds and other wildlife in winter and how you can help them through this tough time of year.

There are a number of simple steps that you can take to make your garden welcoming to robins before the weather begins to turn too cold or the predicted snow comes, to some of us, next week.

During a cold winter, up to half our garden birds can be lost to cold and hunger. Robins are particularly susceptible as they remain faithful to their gardens no matter what the weather. Putting out food, water and shelter for birds visiting your garden can make a big difference to survival rates.

What Food Can Support Robins and Other Winter Birds?

Garden bird populations all over the UK have fallen by up to 50% in the last few decades, so all of them are in some level of trouble. Because there are fewer hedgerows, there is a lack of natural food. Without supplementary bird feeding in gardens, up to half of robins could die of cold and starvation.

· Mealworms and calcium worms

· Fatty foods like suet pellets

· Special high protein robin blends

· Meaty kitchen scraps

· Mild cheese

· Cake and biscuit crumbs

· Dried fruit

· Peanuts (shredded or crushed)

Robins prefer to forage and feed off the ground. By placing a small food tray full of their favourite food close to a shrub tree or preferred perch, you can encourage them to make your garden home and spend more time in the garden. Ark Wildlife have a robin feeder pack which could get you started – if you’re lucky, after a little time robins can quickly become confident in our presence and feeding from the hand is not unknown!

How to make your garden a home for robins

Birds cluster together during very cold spells to share their warmth. They often use nest boxes as winter shelter, so put up suitable bird nest boxes in winter. These will be used as night roosting sites as well as 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.

Place plenty of water sources in the garden. Bird tables make a big difference to the survival of robins in urban and suburban areas. As with any garden wildlife, it’s also worth ensuring that your garden isn’t too pristine or tidy – some wild undergrowth will encourage the proliferation of insects and help robins to find food.

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