Noticing the Robins this Winter
14th November 2019
Have you spotted a robin in your garden or local park over the last week or so? We certainly have, it's a sure sign for us that winter is about to arrive!
For the first time ever, a little robin has had its migration from Heligoland in Germany tracked as it made its way over to the UK, these tiny little birds have never been tracked before as the devices used must weigh less then 3% of the their body weight, at just 19 grams this has proved difficult... But this summer a 'nanotag' radio transmitter, weighing just 0.3g, was fitted to one little robin, communicating with a newly installed network of receivers which were able to track its journey.
Leaving its home in Heligoland, a small group of islands in the North Sea, just above Germany, around on 21st October, it used its innate migratory senses to set a route headed towards Amsterdam before finally making the crossing over The North Sea around 8pm and arriving in Felixstowe, Suffolk around midnight. The bird covered 140 miles in just four hours, at around 35 miles-per-hour, Scientists believe it choose to do this under the cover of darkness to protect itself from bigger predatory birds.
Now I keep looking at the robins I see and wondering where they have come from... Did you know not all robins migrate? Some are here in the UK all year round, never really going more than 5km from home, some spend the summer here in the UK then fly further south to warmer climates for the winter months, while some join our resident robins this time of year as they migrate from colder climates such as Germany, Russia and Scandinavia.
Now is the perfect time to look at attracting more robins to your garden, here are our 4 tips to attract a robin or two to your garden this winter:
Add a Bird Bath
Robins love to have a little splash around to keep themselves clean, plus dehydration can be a real problem in the winter when everything freezes over, keep your bath fresh and topped up as often as possible.
Robin Friendly Food
Suet balls, peanuts and sunflower seeds are a firm favourite among the robins, keep bird tables topped up at this time of year to help them keep their energy up for either migrating south or surviving the winter.
Think about the placement
Birds wont want to use your table, bird bath or suet ball if its in a place where they are worried, pop your table somewhere where a predator, such as a cat cannot jump from somewhere to land on it, and keep it close enough to trees or bushes to birds can make a quick dash in and out if they are on high alert!
Don't be too tidy!
Those piles of leaves, twigs, logs and messy bushes are a great place for insects to live, these give birds good feeding ground when the peanuts are low and keep them busy from day to day...
Finally, be patient, doing all this isn't going to mean they arrive in your garden overnight, especially if you've got a cat, sometimes it takes a while for the birds to find you then trust everything will be ok...
What are your top tips for attracting birds to the garden? Have you spotted your resident robins yet?
Emma & Mike, husband & wife, homebodys, although not ones to shy away from adventure, we created Vincent Trading with a passion for traditional methods, beauty in imperfection and our planet.
We live by the sea in South Devon and find ourselves listening to the waves after long days creating, we love nothing more than a cosy night by a fire with our little Cyprus rescue dog Lola.