Why can I hear Robins singing in Autumn? Facts about Robins

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The robin is, without a doubt, one of our favourite garden birds. The Robin was voted Britain’s favourite bird by 200,000 votes in 2015 and I can see why. The Robin is an endearing bird. Wherever you are there is probably a Robin watching you. It seems to trust us, staying close when we’re in the garden and even taking food from our hands.

It seems that Robins have been a gardener’s friend for centuries, taking to allotments and hanging out wherever there might be a spade and worms. Unlike other Garden Birds, Robins sing nearly all-year round. Lots of people have been asking us why they can suddenly hear more Robins, it’s not the dawn chorus after-all.

Why can I hear more Robins in Autumn?

The simple answer, Robins are defending their territories. Robins have fierce competition for territories and begin to defend their Winter territory in Autumn. The song at this time of the year is different from the early spring version. It is more melancholy and understated, aimed at forming and holding a feeding territory. In spring it is the male that delivers the strongest performance but in Autumn males & females are marking out their space. This is a great video for listening to Robin bird song.

The famous red breast synonymous with Christmas Cards plays a part in territory defending too! It’s like a little coat of armour for these birds, which is pumped during these battles. It is used instead of a physical fight, to ward off the unwanted neighbours.

Robin Singing from a tree in Glasgow.
Robin singing at the top of the tree, Glasgow

The tune might change from the melancholy tones to a short, snappier “clicking” noise. This usually happens when one Robin ignores the other and enters another’s prime territory (usually around a bird-table).

What do they eat?

We touched on it a bit, Robins love worms. They will spend their time watching gardeners & allotment users waiting for that moment when the spade or fork digs up a juicy worm. When they are eating alone they will forage for worms, insects and berries. It can be hard for a Robin in the winter. Even though they are the cover stars of our Christmas Cards, cold weather is not the Robin’s friend. When the ground is frozen and the worms have retreated to the warmth of the soil it can be hard for them to find food. That’s why we see them more in the colder months.

At the bird, Robins still love worms, mealworms are a big hit! They will also eat suet like our natural suet, full of juicy blackcurrant juice and mealworms. We have found that they adore our Robin & Friends mix – this mix was inspired by their diet.

What’s in the Robin & Friends mix?

We developed this delicious, natural mix to mimic the Robin’s natural diet. It is also made to create variations on the bird table, something a curious Robin will thank you for. The mix has all the key ingredients for a healthy Robin diet and is perfect all-year-round. The mix includes:

  • Mealworms
  • Sultanas & Currants
  • Insect Suet & Blackcurrant Suet
  • Pinhead Oats
  • Sunflower Hearts
  • Peanuts

Do Robins migrate?

Most British robins are sedentary, defending their territories year-round, with many females also establishing their own winter territories.

However, a handful head south to winter on the Continent, joining other robins passing through in the autumn on their way from Scandinavia and northern continental Europe.

Interestingly, it has been shown that many migrating robins are faithful to both their summer and winter territories, which may be many hundreds of kilometres apart.

Do Robins sing at night?

Robins are one of the first birds to start the dawn chorus and one of the last to stop singing at night, even in the winter when they sing to defend their winter territories.

Nocturnal singing can be triggered by loud noises, like thunder or fireworks, sudden shaking of the roosting tree, or by lights, such as floodlights, coming on.

Various studies have shown that artificial lighting has led to an increase in the nocturnal activities of robins, with many urban robins now singing at night. It might be that if you can hear Robins singing at night in Urban spaces it is because of the artificial lighting.

Everyone loves Robins

We have an Instagram image bank where people from up and down the country post their favourite bird photos. Using the hashtag #feedmorebirds people can show off their wonderful birds. We’ve found that Robins score quite highly, we get more Robins than anything else!

Some of the fantastic photos on display #feedmorebirds

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