Updated at: 11-08-2022 - By: Jane Brody

If you have American Robins in your yard, you shouldn’t waste them by wasting bird food by putting it in bird feeders, because these birds are rarely observed using them.

The best approach to feed Robins is from an open dish or platform feeder, since they cannot fit into closed feeders. To attract robins and other ground-feeding birds, just scatter bird seed around the lawn. Distribute mealworms, either dried or live, beside fresh and dried fruit.

How To Feed Robins

Providing the limited bird food that American Robins eat in our yards can cause you to go out of your way for them, but keep in mind that other bird species may go hungry as a result.

The best approach to attract Robins to your yard is to provide their preferred bird food, along with options that will attract other species of wild birds.

Take note that I used the word “yard” instead of “bird feeder,” as you may already know, robins will use a feeder if they have to, but would rather not.

Robins like ground-level feeding because that is where they will be foraging in your yard.

Since Robins enjoy bird baths more than any other type of bird feeder, you can save money by feeding them in an empty bird bath bowl instead of a more expensive platform feeder.

Robins may be scavenging for insects in your yard, but what they really care about are the earthworms. Many wild birds prefer dry mealworms to insects or earthworms found in nature, and live mealworms are likely to attract the birds’ attention.

You can feed American Robins in your yard a diet similar to what they get in the wild, including dried or live mealworms and fruits like berries.

Robins can be fed on the grass year-round, but if snow is covering the yard, you’ll have to switch tactics.

To prevent waste, feed robins less dry or live mealworms when snow is falling, and then toss more mealworms over the snow as soon as it begins to accumulate.

American Robins fed on ground

Even though American Robins are likely to be among your most frequently spotted backyard visitors, this doesn’t mean they’ll make use of your bird feeder in the typical manner.

If you want to ensure that your Robins, or any other ground-feeding bird, gets enough to eat, the best place to put bird seed is on the ground, rather than in a feeder that may be too small for them.

The American Robin is a ground-feeding bird, thus the best thing toss on the ground for it is mealworms; fruits can be used for a few hours throughout the day.

If you want to attract Robins, put out some apples or bananas in a dish or on a high bird feeder. It’s not necessary to use a hanging bird feeder to bring in Robins; a simple platform with a hole cut in the top will do the trick.

If you want Robins to frequent your yard, you should avoid feeding them on the deck and instead focus on the lawn or a more secluded part of the yard’s perimeter.

The dried mealworms or fruits can be displayed on the porch railing or any outside furniture [as shown in the main image].

Bird seed that falls to the ground isn’t ideal, but seed kept off the ground can remain longer and yet be easily accessed by American Robins.

Bird food can be in open dish

How To Feed Robins-2

While it’s possible to see American Robins using a bird feeder that’s hung from a pole or limb, it’s best to keep things simple for all Robins.

Dog food dishes or small pet bowls used for rabbits can be converted into Robin feeders. If Robins aren’t using the bird feeder in your yard, you may need to move it to a new spot.

Robins don’t eat from bird feeders because the typical fare (seeds, peanuts, etc.) isn’t part of their natural diet.

Robins spend the most of the year hunting for insects and berries, neither of which are typically found in a typical bird feeder.

Dried or live mealworms, of course, and dried or fresh fruits can be tried, as they are similar to the insects and berries that Robins eat in the wild.

An open dish or platform is required because none of this can be added to a mesh wire or transparent plastic tube bird feeder.

Out of bird feeders only

That being said, I feel obligated to say that if you’re interested in providing food for Robins, the best option is to set up bird feeders.

It’s not in a robin’s nature to try to figure out a complicated bird feeder, but when natural food sources are scarce, they may give it a shot.

My only advice is to try feeding them mealworms, either dried or live, and fruits from a bird feeder, preferably one made of a tube or wire.

Robins prefer a bird food bowl, so if you put one out, you may expect to see them using it. They also appreciate feeding from a wire dish attached to a bird feeder pole.

Better then, why figure out the ideal way to feed only American Robins when you can keep feeding all the other popular backyard birds, like the Bluebirds, which can use bird feeders but prefer an open dish as American Robins do?

Next, I’ll tell you to get a platform bird feeder, which is a type of feeder that sits on a pole.

With that, a Robin can be seen feeding at a ground platform bird feeder, as this type of feeder is typically located in the region where Robins forage in your yard.

Feed Robins their favorites

How To Feed Robins-3

Instead of using a bird feeder, the best approach to provide food for a Robin is to place a dish or an open-topped platform bird feeder on the ground or high up on a pole and fill it with the bird’s preferred food.

Robins can be attracted to your yard by providing them with a steady supply of dried mealworms, which are also enjoyed by many other species of birds that visit your feeders.

Robins prefer live, wriggling mealworms to dry ones because they are easier to spot in the lawn.

In dry weather or times of drought, when earthworms are scarce, live mealworms can be used as an alternative food source for robins.

Robins can also be fed suet cakes made from fruit or insects. Never put them in a cage suet bird feeder when they can be perched on a perch or suet can be broken up and poured to the dish.

Because Robins can consume apple slices, it’s safe to assume that they’ll eat other types of fruit as well.

You can try feeding Robins a variety of dried fruits, and you might even see them eating seed mixes if you toss in some of what you’re feeding them with the food you’re giving to other birds.


It would be simpler if you fed Robins their preferred bird food on the ground, or more specifically, on the lawn rather than trying to maneuver around the deck.

If you want to feed Robins, you should do so in a dish often used for dog food or a smaller bowl typically used for feeding rabbits or animals in cages.

Next, you can take the bowl of mealworms (either dried or live) and fruit (fresh or dried) around the yard until you find the quietest area where the Robins and other birds can dine without disturbing you.

A pole-mounted or ground-level platform bird feeder is preferable over a dish for ensuring that common backyard birds, such as American Robins, have access to food.

A wire or tube hanging bird feeder can be used by robins, but they rarely do. However, robins know that they can get dried mealworms in a dish or on top of a platform bird feeder, which is where they get the bird food they eat in yards.

If you want to maintain your platform bird feeder accessible to all the birds in your garden, you’ll have to feed the Robins there.

Robins’ natural diet consists primarily of fruit and insects. The insects can be swapped out for mealworms, either dry or live, or fresh fruits like apples or bananas.

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