Robins and the Honeysuckle Bush

Ilona Erwin

Supporting Garden Wildlife

Responsible Gardening

American Robin

Cindy Decker wrote an interesting piece on Robins and the bush honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica and family. It seems that all those bright berries that robins love so well aren’t so good for them.

According to her source, Brian McCarthy of Ohio University, the bush honeysuckle berries don’t have as high quality nutrition. Decker likens them to “fast food” for the birds. This was interesting, because like most people, I pretty much figured all natural food to be good for them. A little logic would have dispelled that… but I just didn’t give it a thought. The prevailing advice now is to give preference to native shrubs in our garden plantings to better nourish the bird species that visit them. In their list at the end of the article I see I already have some of their chosen shrubs and trees:


  • Aronia arbutifolia
  • Cornus stolonifera
  • Juniperus horizontalus
  • Serviceberries
  • Crabapple
  • Ninebark

I planted some of the others in my last garden, and should think about putting them in here; fragrant sumac and Hawthorn trees, specifically. Pyracantha is not native, but they have late season berries for the robins and other birds. I always have visitors to my window  in the last legs of winter, and they provide some shelter as well.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.