robin stood on fence post

Robins in the garden

In the bleak midwinter, the robin shadows every move in the garden. His tomato red breast shines like a beacon in the cold winter light as he hops and chirrups around as we potter around the winter garden. These pretty little birds are hugely territorial. In order to survive they need to protect and retain their patch, especially if there’s a garden rich in bird food or a friendly human providing some sustenance.

Garden buddy

Robin. Image: Martin Mulchinock

These little garden friends watch our every move, popping up when we are out in the garden, especially when digging holes and moving soil, when wormy treats are often unearthed. Look out for a rustle in the hedge, and a red breast hopping from branch to branch in the border. Their bright, beady eyes don’t miss a trick as they sit just out of arms reach on the fence or in the border. These are ground feeding birds that will clean up under the bird feeder and appreciate a tasty morsel thrown their way while you work outside.

Insect eating

Robins are insectivorous; remember that when you wield your garden pesticides. Every bug is a meal for something, and this obsession with killing ‘pests’ deprives insect eating creatures of a meal. It’s no wonder that the insectivores are struggling. Weirdly that’s good news for the bird food industry as guilty gardeners supplement the diet of our feathered friends by the ton and invest in the vibrant entertainment that these wild pets bring to our plots.


Robins are the ground feeders; they are the garden bug busters and forage in the borders and around the garden, rustling in the leaves looking for tasty morsels to maintain their body weight. All small birds like robins need a daily supply of food to survive the cold nights and will be out bright and early at sunrise searching for a meal. But the cheeky robin is a successful opportunist and can become tame, even learning to trust enough to feed from your hand. Soak dried mealworms in water and offer them up to these little characters and in time they may, just may, be brave enough to feed from your hand. Invest in a pack of the Premium Bird Food from Richard Jackson, it’s rich in seeds, mealworms and suet, all energy rich ingredients for all our feathered garden friends that will help support them through the winter. For a robin treat, present them with soft suet, special insect rich robin mixes and rich fruit crumbles on a ground feeder and enjoy their company as you garden, they bring life and movement to the silent winter garden and are a bright light in the depths of winter.

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