Should apples be hung up or cut up and scattered or just left whole? Also, how do you differentiate between a male and a female robin? I have two in my garden which i thought was unusual as they seem to be territorial or have I got it wrong? (one seems to carry it's tail a bit higher than the other!)

'I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself'.

  • I usually cut them up - either in quarters or eighths - and just put them in my mesh feeding trays or under the bushes. It doesn't matter really though, they wouldn't have anybody to cut them up or place them strategically in the wild.

    I think the only way to differentiate male and female robins is to observe them mating....!!

  • In reply to AnnaBanana:

    Hi Gaellus

    I usually cut my apples up simply because it means my blackbirds all have a chance of the apple as opposed to one or two having one half to themselves.  They seem to like it as many take a piece and fly off with it to a cosy corner to eat.   As blackbirds squabble and chase eachother all over the garden it seems easier to let each one have their own bit.

    As to the robins, I have two but don't know which one is male or female they seem to get along but to be honest I see them seldom at the same time in the garden.  The only reason I know I have two is that they are both different shapes, one is long in the body and the other has a more rounder shape.


    Kezmo, Essex

  • In reply to Kezmo:

    I also cut my apples up into small pieces as the larger birds, such as rooks, jackdaws, crows etc. can just fly away with large pieces and leave nothing for other birds.

  • I have found that doing a bit of each works best if you are trying to feed a variety of garden visitors. Try chopping some into quarters on the ground, leaving some of the softer ones whole on the ground or table and hanging or 'spiking' bits of apple and pear onto exposed branches. Seems to work well for the blackbirds and starlings at least!

    With robins the sexes are similar so seperating them requires careful observation of behaviour. It is usually the male that will charge around the garden trying to see off intruders, although a resident female may join in at times, and the male is the one who will be advertising his territory with song. You may also see the male feeding the female as part of courtship, usually around the time when the female has finished building her nest. They often start to breed in March so be on the look out for these clues over the next few weeks.


    Warden Intern at Otmoor.

  • Hi Gaellus, I have tried feeding apples and grapes and the birds I have coming to my garden won't touch them, at the minute, all the blackbirds and the thrush I have visiting will only touch the suet pellets I'm putting out, it's costing a fortune, they do eat the raisins I put out, but only if I soak them overnight.

    There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.

  • In reply to Bishy-barney-bee:

    I'm glad someone else has birds who don't like apples! I was getting an inferiority complex and wondering what was wrong with my apples. I still have rotting apple pieces on the front lawn from when we had the heavy snow, yet the blackbirds and thrush all use this lawn and the ground feeder there. They eat the raisins and meal worms if the starlings leave any, and will even eat the seeds, but not the apples!!

    Cheers, Linda.

    See my photos on Flickr

  • In reply to Sparrow:

    I have found that soft pears are eaten in no time. Blackbirds seem to love them.

  • In reply to Brenda H:

    I chop up apples and pears and add it to my gound mix, I have put out apple halfs but they was not touched.

    I think I spoil my lot, they like it chopped. (bite size)

    Hey farmer, farmer, put away the D.D.T now. Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees, please!

  • Thanks all for your advice. I'll try all your recommendations and see what happens.

    'I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself'.

  • Over the years in winter my blackbirds will only eat red apple which I pick and keep in the garage over winter, although I have another tree with cox pipping still hanging some drop but she won’t touch them, I put 1 out every day and place it on a tree stump which she takes and eats away at it all day, is there a reason they don’t eat yellow apples