Bird Watching

Bird of the Year 2021 – The Robin

In addition to the blue tit, great tit and sparrow, the robin is also a frequent guest in the garden. Very early in the morning, an hour before sunrise, the unmistakable bird begins to warble. This melodic bird song can be heard all year round.

The robin was named Bird of the Year on March 19, 2021. For the first time, the choice was not made by bird protection organizations, but by public voting on the Internet, in which everyone could vote for their favorite bird.

What do robins look like and why are they called that?

As the name suggests, this was given because of the reddish throat. However, the robin’s throat is not entirely red, but more of a rust-orange color and is also very distinctive with a gradient that extends from the forehead to the chest. This feature is striking and makes this bird distinctive. Its body is plump, its legs long and thin. The robin’s abdomen is light brown to light gray in color and the back is a darker gray. There is no sexual dimorphism in robins – this means that there are no color or other differences between males and females.

What sounds do robins make?

The song of the robin is extremely multifaceted and includes around 275 tones and melodies that it expresses. It can also imitate the voices of other songbirds, such as the chaffinch, the blackbird or the chiffchaff, with deceptive realism. The Robin is therefore also referred to as a mocker, mimicking other bird calls. However, the delicate bird can also be different, because its singing has already been measured at a volume of 100 decibels. This is roughly comparable to disco music, a jackhammer or a circular saw. Nevertheless, the song of the robin is very euphonious.

The enemies of the robin

The robin, like many smaller songbirds, has Enemies such as cats, martens, magpies, sparrowhawks, falcons, jays, crows, tawny owls, rats, foxes, but also the cuckoo. The latter is considered a parasite and therefore does not incubate its own eggs, but lays them in other people’s nests. Since the eggs of the cuckoo hardly differ from the eggs of the robin, the robin often has to act as a host. That is why the much smaller young robins often have no chance and are not cared for.

The robin often has to feed the cuckoo’s fledglings – much to the distress of its own young. (Source: Adobe Stock)

But the weather, pesticides and insecticides can also pose a threat to the robin.

What do robins eat and what can I feed them?

Live mealworms are a treat for robins any time of year. (by Masurek)

Over spiders, berries and insects the robin is happy. It belongs to the soft feed eaters and therefore cannot do anything with coarse grain feed. The larvae of the flour beetle, too mealworms called, are a high-protein diet for the small songbirds.

Now wild bird food for robins & buy co

You can also offer the robin oatmeal, poppy seeds, bran, raisins and fruit (e.g. bananas). The right mixture, which is also dated NABU recommended is available in our shop and already contains dried insects, oatmeal and soft fruits. Both live mealworms and our loose feed are ideal for year-round feeding. Mealworms in particular strengthen our robins in winter – perfect food for songbirds.

Next to blue tits are robins Predators of the oak processionary moth and the aphid and thus an environmentally friendly variant for pest control. This is precisely why it is advisable to attach nesting aids for robins.

Which nest box is suitable for robins?

Robins belong to the semi-cavity breeders and therefore look for semi-open brood cavities or nesting boxes. Unlike blue and great tits, the robin wants to be able to look out with her young.

Here you will find the right nesting box for robins

Where do robins breed?

Robins prefer a natural environment. They are sometimes guests in cemeteries and allotment gardens, but these are often avoided if it is “too tidy” there for the little bird. The robin likes gardens best where there can still be wild growth. Of course, a few bushes and trees should not be missing.

The robin likes to breed hidden in bushes or hedges. (Source: Adobe Stock)

Who builds the nest with the robins?

Nest building is the responsibility of the female. The cup-shaped nest is built with dry leaves, moss and fine roots. In addition, nesting material such as hair from humans and animals, as well as feathers and wool are used to pad the nesting site. It takes four to five days for the robin to build its nest. Meanwhile, the singing of the male, which is close to his female, can be heard.

When do robins start breeding?

The robins breed from April to August. The first eggs are laid in the early morning hours. Approximately 5-6 eggs can be expected per brood, which are oval-shaped and have reddish spots.

Who breeds with the robins?

The female incubates the eggs for about 2 weeks. Meanwhile, the male feeds it regularly. Both parents share the feeding of the young. They also fend off any attackers who come too close to the nest. Especially when the young birds have hatched but cannot see anything, they are vulnerable. The adult robins then attack even larger animals.

When do the young robins fledge?

Still incompletely colored, but still recognizable as a robin (Source: Adobe Stock)

The young birds are initially blind after hatching, but they open their eyes just six days later.

An undisturbed nestling period lasts about 12 to 15 days, but the young birds can already leave their nest from the tenth day. The female helps her offspring to leave the nest. Especially the nestling often needs a little nudge. At first, the young robins sit on the ground, as they are still unable to fly, begging for food. The young are still cared for by their parents, but mostly by the father as the mother takes care of her next brood. The father of the young birds sings from a distance of four to six meters. This is how the youngsters learn their own singing. As soon as the young are independent and no longer dependent on their parents for food, they are driven out of the breeding territory. This usually occurs after 18-22 days.

Social behavior of the robin

Robins are social animals, because even if they have their own offspring and care for them, they also look after the young of blackbirds, song thrushes, wrens, as well as those of wood warblers, warblers and spotted flycatchers. The young birds of the great, long-tailed and blue tit are also supplied with food by adult robins.

Characteristics of the robin

  • Scientific name: Erithacus rubecula
  • Family: Flycatchers, Wheatears & redstarts
  • Size: 14cm
  • Weight: 16-22g
  • Wingspan: 20-22 cm
  • Number of broods: 2 per year
  • Breeding season: April-August
  • Clutch size: 4-6 eggs per brood
  • Incubation period: 13-14 days
  • Nestling duration: 12-15 days
  • Food: Insects, spiders, berries, oatmeal
  • Life expectancy: around 13 months

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