Updated at: 18-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

The American Robin is a backyard bird that may or may not use a bird feeder, depending on the season and the individual bird’s environment.

Although robins will eat from bird feeders, they are rarely observed doing so because the food provided isn’t often what they eat in the wild. Robbins will only feed from open-topped platforms, dishes, or wire mesh trays that are mounted on a pole. If you want to keep your Robin happy, the only food you should ever give it is fruit and either dried or live mealworms.

Why Don't Robins Eat Bird Seed

You assume Robins don’t eat at feeders because you’ve seen them in the yard but they’ve shown little interest in the food.

Since the majority of an American Robin’s diet consists of items that are rarely if ever seen in bird feeders, this could explain why the birds rarely visit such feeders.

Robins aren’t above using a bird feeder occasionally, and they have been recorded eating a variety of foods, including bird seeds.

A Robin can use an open platform bird feeder, thus a bowl or tray attached to a pole works just as well.

You can substitute the earthworms the birds normally eat with dried or live mealworms, and the wild berries they normally eat with apple slices or dried fruits, and feed the birds from this platform feeder.

The point I am making is that putting bird seed out in the open, rather than in a feeder, is more hygienic.

As robins are mostly ground feeders, spreading some dried mealworms on the grass might attract them.

Robins DO use feeders

Although you may have figured out by now that American Robins aren’t a typical sight in your yard, you can still enjoy watching them at a bird feeder.

A robin’s capacity to use such a gadget is limited to say the least, and a robin’s natural habit usually forces them to scavenge on the ground as usual, so backyard bird feeders aren’t exactly a good fit for them.

For this reason, it is ideal to feed Robins in your yard on the grass, as this is where they typically rest while foraging in the wild.

Robins aren’t so shy they won’t try out new bird feeders, and some have even witnessed American Robins enjoying bird baths.

However, less nimble birds like robins will avoid bird feeders that are completely enclosed, can only be hung, and offer no perching space.

A Robin’s restricted capacity to fly means that you’ll need to leave your bird feeder open for it to land on and perch.

Feeders are used less

Why Don't Robins Eat Bird Seed-2

In particular, American Robins can’t utilize bird feeders that are designed to hold bird seeds because they don’t eat those seeds.

Robins can be attracted to bird feeders by scattering bird seed on an open top platform or, why not, placing the seeds in a dish.

Birds like Robins learn to rely on natural food sources; bird feeders are only used when those sources are inadequate. As a result, a Robin can perch on a little bird feeder with no problem, guaranteeing that it will acquire the protein it needs to thrive.

Therefore, if there is plenty to eat in the wild, an American Robin won’t bother with bird feeders, regardless of the season.

This is because Robins are smart enough to recognize that food is always available in the wild, so they avoid eating at bird feeders.

Robins, on the other hand, may view a bird feeder as an irritation despite the fact that they can benefit from it in times of crisis. Because robins don’t normally use strange feeders, they only use them when they have to.

Mealworms or suet feeders

If you have an abundance of American Robins and the aforementioned supplies, you might be able to provide for their nutritional needs.

It’s important to learn what Robins eat in the wild before deciding what to feed them as pets, because there isn’t as much variation as you may assume.

Robins consume a wide variety of insects and berries, but their favorite food is the earthworms that live in your yard.

Adding this to a bird feeder is obviously not an option, but similar bird food can be placed on top of an open platform feeder or, in the absence of either, in a dog food bowl.

Robins can be fed either dried or live mealworms to supplement their natural diet of insects. These treats are suitable for the open-top bird feeder or can be tossed to the ground where they will be enjoyed by Robins.

You can’t put berries in a bird feeder, so you’ll have to put them in a dish or on a perch if you want to attract birds.

If there is snow on the ground, you can feed the birds by scattering dried mealworms on top of the snow and repeating this process every day.

Layout feeder food


Rather than limiting Robins’ access to bird food by placing it in a small feeder, you’d be better off putting it out in the open where it would be more easily found and consumed.

You can’t expect only Robins to eat from a dish or platform bird feeder, so be prepared to constantly refresh the food supply.

One way to ensure that Robins have their fill is to remove some dried mealworms from a bird feeder (which could be a clear plastic tube or a wire cage) and place them on the ground or a higher surface.

As for me, I prefer to hang bird feeders from a porch railing or, failing that, on a piece of garden furniture.

In general, any location where I can provide food for wild birds and still keep an eye on them as they eat, allowing me to learn which species I’m truly luring to my yard.

You may count on robins to be one of them; these birds prefer to perch on porch railings, furniture, and the ground rather than use bird feeders.

If you have American Robins in your yard, you can provide them with either dried mealworms or, if you’re very brave, live mealworms. Robins can be enticed with apple slices or bananas, among other fruits, provided they are readily available from bird feeders.

Rely on platform feeder

When robins are hungry or having trouble finding food in the wild, they will use tiny, unsuitable bird feeders.

Robins prefer open trays on a pole or small pet food dishes spread out throughout the yard as bird feeders.

Robins will use these since they are designed to accommodate the Robin’s limited ability to use traditional hanging bird feeders.

For this reason, a pole-mounted, open-topped platform feeder is the ideal choice for attracting Robins.

When hung from a pole, the platform doesn’t move as Robins land on it to perch, making it a safe place for them to eat their mealworms, fresh fruit, or dried fruit without fear of being knocked off balance.

Even while a pole-mounted platform feeder for birds is an option, it is still rather limiting. When the wind blows, the swinging motion and the chains used to suspend it can make it difficult for Robins to land.

Since American Robins prefer to forage close to the ground, a ground platform bird feeder is a good complement to a pole-mounted feeder.

To summarize

Though robins aren’t often easy to spot, they do visit bird feeders. When wild bird food is short, or when they are hungry, robins will eat at bird feeders.

There has been a decline in the use of feeders, especially hanging feeders, due to the Robin’s limited access to the trapped food inside.

Robins will happily eat the dried or live mealworms you provide in your yard in place of the insects or berries they would normally eat in the wild. Robins also eat a lot of fruit, which can make up as much as 60% of their annual diet.

Perhaps American Robins have learned that the food they need isn’t commonly found in standard hanging bird feeders because none of this can be added to a self-enclosed feeder, nor are they found to be added to feeders.

Consequently, if the bird feeder is the open-to-the-elements type, robins will still be able to use it.

Any dish or wire mesh tray attached to a bird feeder pole will do. Birds like Robins that require a regular supply of food will make use of bird feeders like these.

The best feeder is a pole-mounted platform feeder with fruit and either dried or live mealworms spread out on top.

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