Robins in the garden

Discussion in 'Gardening for Backyard Biodiversity in Canada' started by Sundrop, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Today I counted about 20 -30 robins busily looking for earthworms in my garden. I would rather keep my earthworms in the garden. What to do?
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Enjoy the robins!

    The worms accessible to the birds are but few compared to the population that inhabits the soil below.

    Also, the robins are surely gobbling up other stuff along with the worms. Beetles, caterpillars, spiders. Robins do not live by worm alone.

    As the soil dries out over the summer, the worms will travel down to moister nether regions and be safe, at least from robins. Moles...well, dunno how you discourage THOSE voracious mammals!

    You could always run outside and yell "SHOO!!!" Or maybe hire a neighbor kid to do so.
    But I think the worms will be OK.
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    I am no ornithologist, but these guys flock-up & migrate as I understand it. They will move on! In the Fraser Valley, in my garden, we already have a resident robin who shouts from the roof of our house about 5 a.m. to defend his territory & nest. He will have to defend himself from me shortly, I'm going to start chucking things at him. He's welcome to some worms & many other bugs - as long as he's quiet about it.
     
  4. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Besides eating my earthworms and other beneficial soil organisms the robins did a lot of mess in my organic garden. All the mulches I put last year on the beds that didn't completely decompose are now on the paths and wood chips from the paths are on the beds. It is nothing to enjoy, as a matter of fact I am close to crying.

    Running outside and yelling at them is not possible all the time and doesn't work anyhow. It looks like they consider this kind of human behaviour as free entertainment. They fly away, as Lisichiton says, when things are thrown at them, but only to return in a couple of minutes.

    Thankfully today I could see only my 3 or 4 regulars, it looks like the rest were just short term visitors to my garden.
     
  5. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Sundrop, I sympathize. Hope that the aptly named Turdus will soon lay off your garden.

    Robins here numerous but not quite to the horde level. However, they do fling mulch about. (Much mulch.) I hose off the patio only to find it bespattered once again half an hour later.

    Another thing I have noticed is that robins take more baths than all other bird spp combined. Dunno if this is because they are filthy or fastidious. AND their ritual doing so is lengthy. Reminds me of Ed Norton's (Art Carney) antics in The Honeymooners, when he would irritate Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) to the point of explosion by his prolonged routine of rolling up sleeves, adjusting shirt, etc. before performing some simple task. AARGH!

    Stay strong, Sundrop. We are here for you.
     
  6. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Thank you togata57.
    I do like robins, but not too much and definitely not at all when there are 25 or so of them working in my garden together. Thankfully, it was only one bad day like that, Lisichiton was right saying they will move on, but it was enough to put me in the state of panic.
     
  7. Durgan

    Durgan Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Robins are the most destructive bird in a garden. A commercial blueberry field is almost completely destroyed by these birds unless severe expensive steps are taken to keep them away. Nets or cannons or bird calls of predatory types.I have about 8 bushes and have to cover completely with screen mesh or the berries are gone almost as fast as they ripen. Robin diet is almost only earth worms until the fruit ripens. My cherry tree is given over to the robins. My advice is to destroy every robin nest that you can find.

    The insect eaters in my case are starlings, and blackbirds. The so called June bug is never eaten by robins, but by the flocks of blackbirds and grackles and starlings. A robin may be pretty but is not beneficial to man. In the Southern USA farmers shoot them.
     
  8. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your response.

    Since I started this thread I have learned that Robins are not the worst in the organic garden. At least flocks of them don't stay there indefinitely. Crows can do much worse damage and once they learned where to get a free, tasty dinner they will never forget that, and, being social animals, will share the knowledge with all their friends and relatives.

    Well, I am getting more and more experienced . . .
     
  9. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    Because of their size, crows can be very destructive; and they seem to be more numerous now compared to 10 or more years ago. However, I've noticed that while crows have become more abundant, other pesky birds have become less of a problem during that same period. That includes robins, starlings (especially), English Sparrows, and House Finches. I saw a crow with a baby starling in its mouth years ago, and have watched crows hanging around a starling nest next door around the time that the babies were fledging; so I suspect that crow predation may be reducing the populations of smaller birds. For this reason I am somewhat grateful to the crows; it is easier to defend the garden against one type of bird pest than many different ones. For instance, flocks of House Finches used to invade my sweet cherry trees and destroy blossoms while drinking the nectar from them. That hasn't happened in the last 5 years, and crows don't bother the blossoms. Besides, crows are at least natives, unlike the starlings and English Sparrows.
     

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