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Robins: Springtime Jokesters


 

Leverage the iconic sounding happy chirps of the American robin this March to improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of older adults in your care.

Each spring, American robins play a bit of an early April Fool’s joke. These feathered friends seemingly announce their return from their winter migration with their well-known sing-songy chirps. The truth is, however, that robins do not migrate.

That’s right: these fluffy red-breasted birds live across the United States year round.

So why do we typically recognize their “return” as the first sign of spring? Once the ground begins to thaw, robins – ravenous after a long winter of shivering to stay warm and subsisting on berries – hop out of their treetop perches to forage for food with substance: worms and insects.

This March, entice American robins to visit your garden. If providing platefuls of mealworms or earthworms has too much of an “ick” factor for you, consider instead consistently offering a water source to quench their thirst. The robins will quickly learn to visit your garden, serenading your residents and guests with their song.

A known mood booster, listening to bird songs has been shown to reduce stress and attention fatigue, while lowering blood pressure. A small 2015 study out of the United Kingdom has even found that the restorative effect of listening to birdsongs also improves cognitive function.

Now is the time to teach your feathered neighbors that your therapeutic garden should be their go-to destination this spring.

One last tip: American robins do not eat birdseed. They do, however, welcome raisins or berries that are past their prime.

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