How to attract Robins to your garden

by | Aug 21, 2023 | Beginner Bird Watching, Citizen Science


How to attract Robins to your garden


Creating an inviting haven for robins within your garden landscape is a journey that promises to enrich both your surroundings and your connection with nature. Imagine the gentle melodies of these feathered songsters resonating through your outdoor sanctuary, marking the arrival of spring and the vitality it brings. The allure of having robins grace your garden is a testament to the beauty and harmony they introduce to the environment. In this exploration, we delve into the art of crafting a welcoming space that beckons these charming avian companions, thus fostering a harmonious coexistence between the botanical and the winged.

Food Sources

Food Sources: Robins are omnivorous birds that primarily feed on insects, worms, and fruits. To attract them, you can provide a variety of food sources:

  • Mealworms: Offer live or dried mealworms, which are a great source of protein for robins.
  • Berries: Plant berry-producing shrubs and trees such as elderberries, serviceberries, and dogwood.
  • Fruits: Put out ripe fruits like apples, pears, and berries. Cut them into small pieces and place them on a platform or bird feeder.
  • Earthworms: Robins love to find earthworms in the soil, so refrain from using pesticides that could harm their natural food source.

Water and Baths

Importance of Water: Birds need water not only for drinking but also for bathing. Bathing helps them keep their feathers clean, which is essential for insulation, flight, and overall health. During hot weather, water helps birds regulate their body temperature. By offering water in your garden, you’re providing birds with a critical resource that contributes to their well-being.

Setting Up a Water Source:

  1. Choose the Right Container: A shallow bird bath is ideal for attracting robins. It should be no deeper than 2 inches (5 cm) to ensure that birds can stand comfortably while they bathe. The bath should also have gently sloping sides to allow birds to enter and exit easily.
  2. Location: Place the bird bath or water feature in a quiet and open area of your garden where birds can feel safe from predators. Avoid placing it too close to dense shrubs or trees where cats or other predators might hide.
  3. Stability: Ensure that the water container is stable and won’t tip over easily. This prevents water spillage and keeps the birds’ bathing area consistent.
  4. Keep it Clean: Birds are more likely to use a clean water source. Change the water regularly, preferably daily, to prevent the buildup of algae, bacteria, or other contaminants. Scrub the bath periodically to remove any debris.
  5. Attractiveness: Add natural elements to make the water feature more inviting. You can place a few smooth stones or pebbles in the water, which not only provide perches for birds but also create ripples that can mimic moving water.
  6. Winter Care: If you live in a colder climate, consider providing water throughout the winter months as well. Use a heated bird bath or employ strategies to prevent the water from freezing entirely.

Safety Concerns: While a bird bath can be a fantastic addition to your garden, it’s important to consider safety:

  • Depth: As mentioned earlier, the water should be shallow to ensure that birds can stand comfortably. Deep water sources can be hazardous for small birds.
  • Predator Awareness: Position the bath so that birds have a clear view of their surroundings and can easily escape from potential predators.
  • Regular Cleaning: Keeping the water clean prevents the spread of disease among birds.

Overall, a thoughtfully designed and well-maintained water source can greatly enhance the appeal of your garden to robins and other bird species. It’s a simple yet effective way to contribute to the local bird population and create a bird-friendly environment in your backyard.


Importance of Shelter: Shelter is crucial for birds as it offers protection from predators, extreme weather, and other threats. Having safe places to rest, roost, and nest allows birds to feel secure in your garden, which in turn encourages them to stay and frequent the area.

Creating Effective Shelter:

  1. Plant Native Shrubs and Bushes: Native plants are well adapted to the local ecosystem and provide natural food sources and shelter for native birds. Choose a variety of shrubs and bushes that offer different layers of cover, such as low-growing plants, medium-sized shrubs, and taller trees.
  2. Dense Foliage: Opt for plants with dense foliage that can provide good coverage. Evergreen plants can offer year-round shelter, while deciduous plants can provide nesting sites during the warmer months.
  3. Mixed Plantings: Create a diverse landscape by combining different plant species. This diversity attracts a wider range of insects, which are a vital food source for robins and other birds.
  4. Plant Heights: Incorporate plants of varying heights to create vertical layers of cover. This allows birds to choose the level of shelter that suits their preferences and needs.
  5. Berry-Producing Plants: Include berry-producing plants like holly, serviceberry, and viburnum. These plants not only offer shelter but also provide a natural food source for birds.
  6. Nesting Sites: Certain plants with dense foliage can serve as suitable nesting sites for robins. Consider leaving some areas slightly more wild and untrimmed to provide nesting opportunities.
  7. Avoid Pesticides: Using pesticides can harm not only the insects that birds rely on for food but also the birds themselves. Opt for natural and organic gardening methods to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
  8. Windbreaks: Dense shrubs and bushes can act as natural windbreaks, protecting birds from harsh winds and extreme temperatures.
  9. Safe Perches: Birds often use branches and shrubs as perches to observe their surroundings and watch for predators. Provide a mix of perching spots throughout your garden.
  10. Predator Prevention: While creating shelter, also be mindful of predator access. Position bird feeders and nesting sites away from areas where cats or other predators could easily hide.

Maintaining Shelter: Regular pruning, weeding, and mulching can help keep your sheltered areas healthy and attractive to birds. Monitor the health of your plants and replace any that are diseased or dying.

By providing diverse and well-maintained shelter options in your garden, you’re creating a hospitable environment that attracts and supports robins and other bird species. This not only enhances the natural beauty of your garden but also contributes to the overall health of the local ecosystem.

Nesting site for Robins

Nesting sites play a vital role in attracting robins and supporting their breeding efforts within your garden. Robins, known for their distinct reddish-orange breast feathers and cheerful songs, prefer to build their nests in sheltered and secure locations. Trees, shrubs, and even the eaves of buildings are common choices. To further enhance their nesting opportunities, consider setting up purpose-built nesting platforms or boxes. These structures mimic the natural sheltered spots robins favor and provide safe places for them to raise their young.

Nesting platforms or boxes can be strategically placed in areas where robins are likely to find them appealing. Optimal locations include near dense vegetation, beneath the eaves of a building, or against a wall. These platforms should have an open front and be positioned to face away from prevailing winds to protect the nesting birds from harsh weather. To better suit the nesting preferences of robins, you can line the nesting platform or box with soft materials like grass, leaves, and twigs. This not only attracts robins but also helps them feel comfortable and secure in their chosen nesting site.

By offering these nesting opportunities, you’re actively encouraging robins to become a part of your garden’s ecosystem. The sight of a robin tending to its nest and caring for its chicks can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to connect more deeply with the natural rhythms of your outdoor space. Remember to be patient, as it may take some time for robins to discover and utilize the nesting platforms or boxes, but your efforts will contribute to the overall well-being of these charming birds.

Engaging with Nature

Gardens harbour not just plants but stories waiting to be heard. Immerse yourself in the symphony of robins’ calls, decoding their language as they traverse the branches. By participating in communal bird-watching endeavours, you join hands with kindred spirits, further enriching your understanding of these vibrant visitors. Together, as stewards of this shared planet, you contribute to a narrative that transcends gardens and wings its way into the collective soul of the world around us.

Photography by Ellie Burgin

About Us

Affiliates is part of an Amazon affiliate programme. This means that if a product is bought through one of our links, we may get a small referral fee. The referral fee is not added to your purchase in any way, so this has no effect on the price you pay. We appreciate you helping us make good content.