With its reddish-orange breast and brown back, the American Robin is an icon of beauty and distinction. Robins have a recognizable and mellifluous song that changes depending on location and time of year. The American Robin is unique because of its extensive range across North America; it is the state bird of Michigan, Connecticut and Wisconsin. If you're interested in attracting robins to your backyard, there are several things you should keep in mind about their habits and preferences.
Bringing robins to your yard
Whether or not robins come to your yard depends on whether you give them a welcoming and safe environment. For example, giving robins a reliable food source during the winter or summer will help lure them into your yard. Robins have a diet of berries and invertebrates, like caterpillars, worms, termites and grasshoppers. An easy way to attract robins is to set aside an area in your yard where these creatures can thrive, such as a pile of leaves or damp corner. You can also purchase bird feeders that hold mealworms.
During the winter, robins get a lot of nourishment from berries, so planting trees that have cherries, Pyracantha berries and crabapple will increase the attractiveness of your yard. And, like all birds, robins are drawn to water, so having a good bird bath is key.
During the winter, robins tend to migrate south into the lower parts of the United States and west along the Pacific Coast. Around this time, you're less likely to see robins, because they congregate in groups and roost in flocks. By the time winter ends, the birds are already migrating back north, where they immediately begin nesting. Robins are particularly noteworthy for being among the first bird species to lay eggs. They typically nest two to three times between April and July, which is their breeding season.
Convincing robins to nest in your yard
If you're interested in having robins nest in your yard, there are a few things you can do to encourage them. Robins are known to make nests at the fork in trees, but if you're not confident anything in your yard is suitable, you can arrange nesting shelves near the top of your house. Another way to make your yard more attractive is to offer twigs, grass, paper and mud as materials for building nests. Female robins are particularly drawn to mud, because they line their nest with it. You can easily make your own mud pile by taking an old pan and filling it with dirt and water.
Once you've successfully inspired a robin to nest in your yard, feel free to observe and bask in the splendor of the young chicks, but be cautious. Male and female robins are especially protective of their young and will not hesitate to swoop down at humans and pets.