Man helps young robin find worms

I was thinking it was Friday, and we always end the week (or at least I try to) with a heartwarmer. Here’s one, and since I’ve already starting posting it, I’ll continue. It shows a kindly gardener digging up worms in the presence of a juvenile robin, who scarfs them up. What struck me about this video were two things: the amazing vision that the robin has, able to spot worms that the gardener can’t see, and the speed with which it ingests them. Rarely do we get to see these skills in action.

h/t: Mark Sturtevant


  1. Simon Hayward
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the worms regard him as “kindly”

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Or if he regards the worms as “tasty”.

  2. keith Cook ¿
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    The lollie shop with ‘marshmellow’ worms…. wondering how timid are these birds in the wild or was the treat just to much to ignore?

    • Richard Jones
      Posted February 10, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      English robins are very bold and know that gardeners dig up worms.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    That’s great stuff. Don’t think you can ever fill them up. Watching Robins hunt night crawlers in the grass, especially after a rain is fun as well. They hop around and turn their head from side to side. We use to think this was a way of looking at the worm but I am told it is hearing the worms.

  4. Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I just love how the robin trusts the man. Grand. Hugs

  5. GBJames
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m betting that the bird imprinted on that guy as a very young chick.

  6. Claudia Baker
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink


  7. bonetired
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Er what sort of robin is that? Doesn’t look like Erithacus rubecula !

  8. M&S
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Robins do this while we are out gardening too. They seem to be relatively comfortable around us and get very close.

  9. Blue
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    O my, my, … … my, my, my:
    that ‘ne so .is. a heartwarmer !

    Darling — the two of them !

  10. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    (Possibly the same point as “bonetired” upthread.)
    Is this some deviant Immigrant North Amurcan Great Robin, with it’s yellow chest and larger body size than the European Beltane card dinosaur?
    I’m not an expert on dinosaur behaviour, but it seems to me that this dinosaur is thoroughly habituated to this cooperative hunting with the mammaian tool-user.

  11. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    That a robin would be attracted to human activity for getting flushed insects & worms is not novel, but at times it does seem that the man points closely to a worm & the bird goes to it. There may be some good cognition going on there.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted February 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Definitely calls into question the insult “bird-brain”

  12. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    This is lovely! What a cool relationship!

  13. Mark R.
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I loved the little excited chirps the robin was making. Both animals were enjoying themselves.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted February 9, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      As implied in the Pixar movie A Bug’s Life, the cute chirps of a bird are really roars of a very small carnivorous dinosaur.

  14. Debbie Coplan
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    It seems like the bird understands the man’s
    pointing motion.

  15. Posted February 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I take it that’s an American robin?

    In UK our robins are common garden birds and can become quite tame, paying close attention to the activities of gardeners like this, but the European robins, although the same species, tend to be shy, woodland birds. The difference in behaviour is thought to be due to the loss of wild boar in the UK.

    This behaviour originated with woodland robins exploiting the rooting of wild boar as the turned over the top soil and turf, as they still do in Europe. In the UK however, robins transferred this behaviour from wild boar to medieval gardeners and still regard us as pigs working on their behalf, apparently. 🙂

  16. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    My parents raised a baby robin until he migrated. He developed a very strong urge to migrate when it was time. He didn’t like worms after a certain age & we surmised it was because that was “baby food”.

    I love how smart wild birds are and you’ll notice the cute little robin exclaims when the man is about to move away the earth that has a worm on it!

  17. rickflick
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure who’s happier, the giver or the givee.

  18. finnjim1975
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    We have a robin in our garden that comes up to the kitchen window and taps on it when his food is finished. When we go out he hangs around until it is put on his table. Yes he has a table of his own that he defends very vocally.

    My wife has even gotten him to eat food from her hand.

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