Winter is not just hard for humans but it gets doubly harder for birds. Robins are unique species. They are one of the very few birds that does not check out bird feeders but instead continue to forage for food in the wild. During summer, robins can go unnoticed as they focus on finding worms and invertebrates for their meals while other birds enjoy the ready buffet prepared by bird watchers.
The amazing time is during winter – a test of the robins ability to survive. I have seen robins picking wild berries in the middle of the white winter and their gray-brown colors stands out in the white canvas.
But while they are busy looking for food, birders like you and me can find ways to make things easier for them to find their next food supply. While this can be done in many ways, I have zeroed in on two most effective ways.
Food To offer a Robin in Winter
These beautiful but sometimes stubborn birds will bypass these colorful berries in favor of protein sources during the warm months but things change when the weather begins to dip. The colder months means berry time or robins but it can also mean scarcity of food as some of these sweets get buried deep in the snow.
Here are two ways you can let the berries fed:
Scatter berries on the ground that the robins can forage
Provide a platform to keep the berries in a more elevated place and save it from being buried under snow.
While these birds aren’t very friendly to seeds and will never fly to seed carrying bird feeders, they will never ignore the smell of mealworms. Offer a mealworm on a platform feeder and let them fly over it in their search for food in the cold.
Cranberries, raisins and black currants are not necessarily the favorite of robins but they are good enough to keep their energy up during the cold. Also, they are very similar to wild fruits so the robins will be interested to pick them for food.
From observations, I know that robins are diligent when they are looking for food whatever the season. Birders can help them during the winter by providing them an alternative source of food whether on a platform or tray feeder or on the ground.
How to Get Rid of Mourning Doves
Doves and robins share the same interest and sometimes, more intimately, even the same nest. Both birds will fight for the same space during the nesting season – a hanging basket made for them or a stack of leaves and twigs they build on a good part of a tree.
Few summers ago, I have specifically witnessed how a mourning dove forcefully drove a young robin trying to build a nest she can use. Poor robin flew away and perhaps started over a nest somewhere else. If you are a fan of robin but doves are around the area, there are few effective ways to make sure they are not to disturb these beautiful gray, brown and sometimes orange birds during the nesting season.
As with the dove, the bully behavior did not last long. By nature, doves are quiet during the whole nesting process and take care of her nestlings without much problem. The doves provided food and prepared the fledglings before they were sent out to fly on their own. For a few times the next summer, I thought I had some of them visit the same nest – a real beauty.
But if you are a fan of robins and wish to keep them within reach, here are few steps on how to get rid of mourning doves:
1. Remove their Food Source
Doves are groundlings, which means that they will survive by simply foraging for seeds of different varieties that have fallen from seed feeders. If you can’t avoid putting up feeder that carry corn, millets or sunflower seeds, you simply have to make sure the extras don’t reach the ground;
- Clean the ground below the feeder daily
- Provide a mesh below the feeder to hold the extra feeds/seeds from reaching the ground
2. Change the Location
Doves are extremely nice and loyal so they will come back to their previous nest for the next season. If you wish to get rid of them, change the location before spring.
3. Remove Weeds
Most birds build their nest in a space that has covering including weeds, tall grass or tree branches. Cleaning up by pruning any of these will discourage the doves from building or taking over a nest. The only con is that other birds such as robin may also feel too exposed to hatch the eggs comfortably.
I personally like doves and they are used on many occasions as a symbol of peace and love although their behavior may sometimes show the opposite. The timing as to when to stop the mourning doves from coming over, stealing spaces should begin before the springtime – the start of the bird migration usually from the northern part to the southern area of the country.
If you are generous enough and wish to help robins find their perfect nesting place, put empty and half finished nests in tree branches or nesting baskets. They will ultimately and creatively find their way to the perfect nest.