how to get a robin to come to you

How to Get a Robin to Come to You: Step by Step Guide

Nothing is more cheerful than seeing a beautiful robin singing in your yard. The orange-breasted songbird is easily one of the most popular backyard birds out there.

In fact, the bird is considered a favorite to a lot of people all over America due to the bird’s exceptional beauty and brilliant colors!

If you want to know how to get a robin to come to you and your backyard, you’re in for a treat! In this article, we’ll provide you with a brief guide to help you attract this amazing bird to your yard. Let’s dive right in!

Can You Get a Robin to Come to You?

The short answer here is yes. As one of the most common birds in the country and a popular backyard bird, it’s pretty easy to attract a robin to you and your garden.

In fact, robins can visit your garden without you even trying, especially if your backyard seems like a suitable spot for them to hang around and look for food.

However, in order to encourage them to stay for longer in your garden, you must make your yard attractive to the robins.

Not only that, but you also need to keep a few aspects of robin’s nature and behavior in mind, especially if you want to tame or approach them.

Get to Know the Robin

The first step to becoming friends with robins around your house is to get to know more about them.

They’re Migratory Birds

American Robins’ scientific name is Turdus migratorius, and as the name suggests, they’re migratory birds, so they may not stay around all the time, depending on where you live.

Author Note: They typically migrate up north for breeding and south for wintering. However, they’re found all year round in most states.

Identification and Difference between Males and Females

territorial robin

Luckily, robins are incredibly easy to spot and identify due to their unique plumage of orange breasts and contrasting dark black or brown backs and heads.

Additionally, the bird lays out sky blue eggs, which is quite unique and makes robin nests extremely easy to identify.

Unlike many songbirds where males only have unique colors, both male and female robins share this beautiful plumage with varying degrees of vibrancy.

They’re Extremely Territorial

Despite their seemingly cute nature, robins are extremely territorial birds and they usually cover a huge patch of up to 2 acres!

They don’t like sharing their territory with other small birds, not even other robins, and will viciously intruders that land in their patch. Keeping other birds at bay is usually the male’s responsibility while females build nests and incubate the eggs.

Despite their aggression when it comes to intruders, they’re extremely timid when it comes to humans and predators, so you should expect the bird to flee the spot when it feels unsafe.

This means that you should never approach the bird yourself. Instead, you only want the bird to come to you.

Make Your Yard or Garden Attractive to the Robin

large perched robin

To make a robin come to you, you need to make your garden a lucrative spot for the robin to build a nest and call it home.

Luckily, you can use robin’s inquisitive nature to your advantage to attract them through the following tips:

1. Make the Garden Safe from Predators

The first thing you need to do in order to attract a robin to your yard or garden is to make the area a safe haven for them.

Robins typically live for about 13 months to a couple of years. In that short time, the birds need to find a suitable shelter, mate, and feed their young. If you want robins to come to your yard, you should encourage them to build their nests over there.

That’s why creating a safe environment for their nest is extremely essential. A good tip here is to choose a specific corner in your yard and make it remarkably appealing and safe for the robins by focusing all your efforts there.

Top Tip: Make sure to limit your animal access to this area because pets like cats and dogs can attack birds.

Additionally, if you’re already trying to attract other birds, make sure to space out the distance between the birds to reduce territorial tension in the area.

2. Provide an Appropriate Feeder

Bird feeders are one of the easiest ways to bring birds to your yard. However, one of the things you should know about bird feeders is that they’re not all created equal.

For instance, there are tube feeders, ground feeders, hopper feeders, nectar feeders, and suet feeders. Ideally, birds are attracted to the feeders that resemble the most ideal way for them to eat.

For example, when it comes to robins, they typically like to feed while on the ground, as they forage and look around for insects, worms, fallen berries, etc.

For that reason, the most ideal type of feeder to keep in your robin-friendly corner is the ground feeder. However, a simple flat tray with low edges can also work if you can’t find a suitable ground feeder.

3. Pick the Right Food

Photo by Andy Morrfew

As previously mentioned, robins spend most of their lives searching for food and proper shelter in order to breed. That’s why providing robins with their favorite foods will surely bring them around.

Robins are omnivores, as they feed on insects, invertebrates, and plant products. However, there are some specific food items that they particularly enjoy.

By providing a bird’s favorite food, you’re much more likely to have them around. Here’s a quick look at the food items to consider if you want to attract robins to your backyard:

  • Suet Cakes: They provide them with tons of energy during the winter months. You can also crumble the cake on a table or a tray to make them more comfortable eating them than in feeders.
  • Mealworms: The primary source of protein for birds is worms, which is also essential to feed their young. When robins find mealworms somewhere, they’ll more likely build a nest nearby.
  • Fruits: Robins are huge fans of berries, whether they’re raspberries, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, you name it! Additionally, they’ll happily go for raisins, frozen fruits, and slices of apple.
  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds are their favorite. However, the shell is pretty tough for them, so you might want to buy sunflower hearts and crush them to make it easier for the robin to access the seeds.
  • Nuts: Robins will also enjoy a meal of crushed peanuts because it’s an excellent source of fat, so they’re ideal for winter months in order to keep them warm and happy.

4. Build a Consistent Water Source

In addition to food, robins require water all year round, so having a readily available source of water in your yard, especially during the winter, would be highly appreciated by our little friend!

Birds don’t only need water for drinking, but also for bathing, even during the cold days of winter. This is because robins are ground feeders, so their feathers get pretty dirty with time.

Dirty feathers affect robin’s flight and don’t perform well when it comes to insulation. In other words, a clean robin is a happy and warm robin!

For that reason, if you install a warmed birdbath, your chances of attracting robins increase greatly, as they don’t typically fly after bathing until they dry off.

5. Offer Opportunities for Robins to Nest in Your Garden

One of the best ways to have a robin call your yard home is by offering it an opportunity to build its nest there.

Author Note: Since robins are pretty acclimated to residential areas, they can actually nest in bird boxes. Ideally, you should build their bird boxes on posts or on tree trunks to keep them high and safe from ground predators.

Additionally, you need to make sure that the opening to the bird box is large enough to allow a robin to go in. This prevents larger birds and raptors like hawks from entering the bird box.

Can You Approach a Robin That Built a Nest in Your Yard?

robin in a nest

As previously mentioned, it’s always best to keep your distance when dealing with robins because they’re quite elusive and timid.

However, you can get closer to the bird every time they see you and not rush the process. You can also throw food closer and closer, and once they’re close enough to you, you can keep your hand open with some food on it.

At first, robins will be hesitant to approach your hand. However, with persistence, keeping your hand steady, and avoiding any sudden moves, they’ll eventually land on your hand for a few seconds.

Final Thoughts

With that said, you now have a brief guide that walks you through everything you need to know in order to make friends with beautiful robins around your backyard.

As you can see, while robins are quite timid, they’re also territorial and would even build a nest in your backyard if it feels safe for them.

Remember to never approach a robin unless it’s ready for the step and make their visit to your backyard worthwhile with food so they come back!


Is it ok to let a robin land on my hand?

When you change the behavior of an animal you must remember that there may be an impact beyond you. If a robin gets used to feeding from your hand, it might go to another human for food or stop looking for food itself. You need to be very careful about interacting with animals and always put their needs about your desires.

Are robins protected in the USA?

Yes, they are protected under the  U.S. Migratory Bird Protection Act. That means that you cannot capture, sell or transport them.

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