What Do Baby Robins Eat?
How to Take Care of a Baby Robin

The ultimate guide to baby robins, what they eat, and how to keep them safe!

Iñigo Navarro Profile Picture

Iñigo Navarro

September 15, 2021


What Do Baby Robins Eat? How to Take Care of a Baby Robin Thumbnail

​​What’s This Post About?

Robins are pretty songbirds that belong to the Turdidae family. There are two types of species in this family: American Robin and European Robin. They can be differentiated by appearance, region, and plumage. Read on to find out more about them.

This post consists of an overview of what do baby robins eat. You can easily come across a baby by making sure there are robins in your backyard.

Attract these birds to your yard via bird feeders containing their favorite food sources. Robin babies can take up to one whole day to hatch properly from the eggshell.

Robin nestlings consume earthworms to survive. They prefer eating insects like mealworms, grubs, earthworms, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, etc. Taking care of a baby robin is very challenging. You need to ensure that the bird is warm, fed, and safe.

undefined

What Are the Stages of Robin’s Life?

Growth and development of a robin in different life phases.

Like all animals, robins also go through different phases in their life. Developing from a baby to an adult is quite a long process. Each stage carries with it additional requirements with regards to dependency, food, behavior, etc.

Robins do not mate for life; the pairs stick together throughout the breeding season then depart. The breeding season comprises of 2 – 3 nesting. The same two birds might probably mate again and stay together in the next year’s breeding period.

Watch this video to visually see how a baby robin transitions into an adult:

The Egg

undefined

These birds begin courting in late winters or early spring. Robin’s produces 5 – 6 clutches with one egg each day. The eggs take about 12 – 14 days to hatch, and tiny baby robins are born.

Robins lay blue eggs. The eggshell of the bird’s egg is of a cyan shade with a matte finish. The egg length is usually about 2.7— 3 cm, and it is 2.1 cm wide.

FUN FACT

Robins have up to three broods in a year, many of their babies do not survive.

1 to 7 Days

undefined

For the first few days, the babies can only open their beaks and not their eyes. They are delicate little bird babies with pink skin and light grey feathers patched on their bodies.

At this time, the baby robins are entirely dependent on their parents. The parents look for food and bring it back to the nest to feed their young. These babies survive on the partly digested food received from their parents directly in their mouths. This is the only way the babies can be fed during the initial days.

The food they eat includes partially digested worms, beetles, seeds, berries, and small insects.

INTERESTING FACT

Robins roost together in trees. Up to 200,000 robins can roost together at once.

7 to 14 Days

undefined

Once the hatchlings have transitioned into nestlings, they grow bigger, start developing feathers, and can open their eyes. They express their food needs through loud chirping; the mother robin feeds them food and cleans the nest.

During this phase, the parent bird starts feeding them large portions of food through their mouth. The young birds consume more and more with each passing day. This is the baby’s growing period which is why their demand for food has increased.

They eat the whole version of beetles, worms, seeds, insects, and berries. Soon the parents let the baby robins eat the entire insect or fruit on their own.

FUN FACT

As soon as a baby robin grows 14 days old, it can consume food equal to 14 feet of earthworms.

14 Days and Over

undefined

At this stage, the birds are getting bigger, fuller, and gaining strength. Parents now place the food in the nest, and the baby robins find it and feed on it themselves. However, the young birds do depend on their parents until they can fly off the nest.

Only when they enter the fledgling phase, they become independent.

INTERESTING FACT

The parent robin has to make approx. 100 visits per day to feed their babies. This is because baby robins require a lot of feed to grow and develop. This is also why robins are careful when they pick a territory – they ensure that the place they live in has easy access to ample food sources.

What Can You Feed a Baby Robin?

Every bird has its preference; let’s explore what baby robins prefer to eat.

undefined

Robins are omnivorous birds and need a balanced diet to survive. Therefore, the best thing to feed a baby robin would be insects such as crickets, beetles, or grasshoppers, earthworms, mealworms, fruits, and berries.

The main aim of a balanced, nutrient-rich diet for a robin is to help it grow into a healthy adult. On average, a baby robin has to be fed after every 5 to 10 minutes. Further, we will mention a list of food you can feed the babies with.

INTERESTING FACT

Jays and crows are a threat to baby robins. This is because they tend to eat these baby birds in the absence of their parents.

Earthworms

Baby robins love to indulge in earthworms or mealworms. They are fed worms by their parents as it proves to be a nutritious snack for the birds. However, feeding robins can be challenging, and the mother needs to be on her wings to find food for her babies.

If the baby bird is left alone for even a week, it will start looking weak or sick and may even die.

Insects

undefined

Insects are the best food option for baby robins. Adult robins feed mainly on beetles and grasshoppers. Nestlings are given partly digested beetles and grasshoppers from their parents.

If you plan on feeding a baby robin an insect on your own, then make sure it is old enough to eat by itself.

PRO-TIP

The best time to feed insects to baby robins is during the spring season. The baby is old enough to eat food independently and can easily digest insects like crickets and beetles by this time.

Fruits and Berries

Fruits and berries are also something that baby robins enjoy.  They can eat fruits like grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.

Make sure that the fruits are cut up into tiny pieces before being fed to the young birds. If the baby robin is strong enough, you can place these fruits on the ground and wait for them to feed on it.

INTERESTING FACT

Baby robins stay in the nest for a maximum of 16 days before practicing their first flight. After that, the mother robins protect their babies till the time they learn how to fly smoothly without any falls.

Do Baby Robins Need Liquids to Survive?

Food is a need, but is water also required for baby robins to survive?

undefined

Water is not essential for a baby robin. This is because the food they eat is moist, and it keeps them hydrated throughout the day. If the fledgling is not eating correctly, it is advisable to only put a drop of water on the bird’s beak.

If you plan to provide water to these young birds, then make sure that the water is lukewarm and fresh. They do not have a high-water requirement but when needed, try to be very careful, feed tiny drops of water at a time.

Once the baby robin grows, it will be able to drink water independently through shallow dishes. Although the food provided by parent robins is enough to keep the baby hydrated, if you find an orphaned baby robin that does not eat right, make sure you use a dropper or syringe to put a few drops of water in its mouth timely.

Moreover, birds, unlike mammals, do not consume milk. The digestive systems of baby robins are not strong enough to tolerate milk. It is a misconception that it is alright to provide milk with bread to birds. However, milk can be highly toxic.

PRO-TIP

Never force water directly in the baby bird’s mouth; it may lead to the young bird choking and dying.

What Should Not Be Fed to Robins?

Specific food sources should be avoided entirely while feeding a robin. Let’s find out what they are!

undefined

Robins can not eat anything large as they are little songbirds with a small beak. It is best not to feed these birds bread, avocadoes, asparagus, and many fruits and vegetables. Milk or alcohol should also be avoided as it may harm the bird’s internal system.

Try not to put out bird mixes for robins in your backyard. Most bird mix is viable for larger bird species to consume as they consist of beans, rice, dried peas, lentils, and wheat that a small robin might not be able to digest.

Ideally, bread should not be given to robins as it does not have the proper nutrients to keep the bird safe and warm during the winters. However, bread can be given at rare instances but only as a snack.

Please do not leave out milk for robins; they might not be able to digest it. However, fermented dairy products such as soft cheese can be given in tiny amounts.

Other items that should be avoided for a robin are:

  • Vegetables: eggplant, asparagus, onions, olives, parsley, spinach, and mushrooms. These might be healthy for humans but are not something you can give to robins.
  • Nuts and Seeds: pear seeds, apricot pits, apple seeds, cherry pits, plum pits, peach pits, and raw peanuts should all be avoided.
  • Beans: dried beans consist of hemagglutinin that is dangerous for birds. However, cooked beans are perfectly fine to give.
  • Fruits: rhubarb and avocados are not safe for birds like robins.
  • Sugary food: chocolates are not advisable to feed a bird.
  • Liquids: alcohol, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, and milk.

The food items listed above should be kept away from the birds. These can make the birds fall sick or be fatal to the little birds.

PRO-TIP

To distinguish between a male and a female robin, examine the color of their heads. A male robin has a darker shaded head, while a female robin has a pale brownish-gray color.

How To Attract a Robin?

Tips and tricks to attract a robin to your yard!

undefined

Attracting a robin to your yard is very simple and easy. Just keep an ample amount of food supply in your yard, grow trees and bushes to provide an ideal nesting site for the bird, and make sure your yard is safe and secure for the birds.

Feed Them

Robins like to consume invertebrates and insects in the summer and fruits and seeds in the winters. Make your yard similar to the wild habitat that they live in. Plant trees in your garden to encourage invertebrates in your garden. This way, you can provide food naturally to these birds.

Provide Nesting Opportunities

Birds like robins are always looking for a safe space to stay in. Their main aim is to find a hidden spot to nest, away from the predators.

The ideal nesting spots for a robin are dense vegetation, climbing plants, and hedges. Moreover, you can hang up nest boxes for these little creatures. They prefer small nest boxes with an open front and under natural covers.

Safety From Predators

undefined

Robins are likely to settle in your yard if they feel safe from large predators such as dogs or cats. The bird feeders should be near dense vegetations to hide easily if they sense danger.

The nest boxes should not be directly in contact with the sun and wild winds. Clean the feeders and nest boxes regularly to avoid bacteria formation that could harm the birds.

How To Take Care of a Baby Robin?

Steps to take care of the adorable little robin babies.

undefined

If you see a baby robin stranded on the ground, you should take action to care for it. If the bird is injured and its parents are nowhere to be seen, it is advisable to keep it warm, feed it, and wait for it to get better before you set it free.

PRO-TIP

Baby robins require extra heat at night. If you do not have a brooder, you can keep a heating pad under the box to provide warmth.

Watch The Baby

If you come across a baby robin on the ground, it is possible that the fledgling was learning how to fly but fell over. Stay at a safe distance and keep a watch over the baby bird to see if its parents fly by to take it. If the parents do not return in approximately 30 minutes, go near the bird and check for any signs of injury.

INTERESTING FACT

When the baby bird falls, it will likely chirp loudly to call its parents. This is why you should wait for a good time before acting; the parents might return to the nest and look for their baby nearby.

Place The Baby in a Warm Place

undefined

If you are sure that the parents of the baby robin are not to return, place the baby in a box covered with a soft, warm towel. Don’t forget to punch holes for the air to pass.

Cover the lid as the babies feel safe and calm in darkness; they may stop fluttering around in the covered box.

Make sure that the baby bird is warm and cozy. Remember that you should not keep the box directly under the sun or in front of a heater; it can lead to dehydration or overheating.

PRO-TIP

Place a hot water bottle under the towel that is placed in the box. This will help keep the baby robin warm.

Feed The Baby

Feed the baby bird after every hour if it is a fledgling. If the baby robin is featherless, then feed it after every 30 minutes. Food that can be fed are:

  • Worms
  • Canned dog food
  • Canned cat food

Be sure to mash the worms before feeding them to the birds. Young babies cannot digest whole worms properly. However, you can use tweezers or toothpicks to put the food directly into the baby’s mouth.

Follow each bite with a drop of water. You can place the water drops on your fingertips and put them close to the bird’s beak. Baby birds do not need a lot of water; their food is enough to keep them hydrated.

WARNING!

Do not hold the bird while feeding it, and do not pour the water directly into the baby bird’s mouth; it can fill its lungs with fluid and cause pneumonia.

undefined

Keep Reading!

Baby robins are adorable little creatures that you can easily attract to your yard. The parents are in charge of keeping the babies safe and secure. However, if you spot a baby robin on the ground without any sight of its parents, it is your responsibility to take care of it.

This post will help you identify food sources given to a baby robin and those that should be avoided. In addition, tips on how to take care of an orphan baby bird are also mentioned to guide you through a similar situation.

If you want to know more about baby birds, such as the baby bluebird, you can read up on this post .

What Do Baby Bluebirds Eat? How to Take Care of Baby Bluebirds

Bluebirds are exotic little creatures that require care and attention. To know exciting facts about baby bluebirds, read below.

Iñigo Navarro Picture

By Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

Posted in:

Iñigo Navarro Picture

Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

Newsletter

Recommended:

You may also like:

Keep Learning!

Our latest tutorials, guides & bird watching tips straight to your inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time, but almost everybody stays. We must be doing something right!