A few years ago a robin perched on my back porch, keening because his parents had made clear he wasn't wanted in the nest.
He decided he was going to live and went around looking for a bush to nest in that some human wouldn't proceed to whack into flinders. It was a mild winter, he stuck around and found out he could get chokeberries to eat on my back porch.
I heard him a few times this winter and the other day saw him picking up chokeberries. I think he's also eating the cheaper chopped up mango I put out to see if he would like it.
The scientific name of the robin refers to the fact that they migrate but this bird is now three years old and has stuck around through more than one winter.
The ones that do migrate come back about the 3rd week of January looking for berries. They will strip yews and euonymus in gangs and I believe they also like the orange pyracanthus berries that ferment on the bush and result in loud drunken bird arguments in the spring. No lie, when I was a kid we had one of these bushes and regularly about the time the snow melted there would be a drunken bird fight around it on the lawn.
So now you know what to plant to feed robins and other birds in the winter: yew; euonymus; pyracanthus (NO the thorns are not poisonous); chokeberry. Winterberry, a holly bush, also works, I've seen the robin tugging at its berries.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved