Hi, James. I agree with everyone else, they seem to love mealworms and suet best.
Glad he has not disappeared. They are very fearless, also territorial. Your young one may make your garden his territory if he survives the winter, and could become quite tame. Although their territories seem to be quite small, and you may see a couple feeding over winter, once spring comes you will probably only see one male. I have been fascinated watching ours this yr, and was amazed to discover how much the male helps in bringing up the young. He had a major fight early on in the spring, and as he has been with us since we moved in, I was scared that he may be getting a bit elderly and be driven off or even killed (as I believe they can do), but he came out on top, and duly bred. We know he is 'ours', as he has a couple of white feathers on one wing that must be a scar of some sort, and make him 'special'! He is also very tame, and would feed out of my hand, I think, if I would sit still for long enough! He gets almost under my feet when I'm digging or weeding, but although he will snatch mealworms that I throw, he won't take anything that i throw to him that I have dug up. Perhaps he sees his own gourmet menu there!
Because of the white feathers (We also have a crow with an almost completely white wing! Not so fascinating, just a bully, even to buzzards!), I have been able to recognise him, and to follow him all yr, which I couldn't reliably do wherever I have lived before.
I was very surprised to see how much a part he takes in the care of the chicks, and this was only because I found a nest by accident. Now here is where I become confused. I had thought, as I believe that most of you on this thread do, that the male had th red-breast, and the female was drab. According to everything I have looked up on the internet, the female has a red breast, too.
I had a pile of junk, mostly in bags, ready to go to tip, but car off rd. I kept going into my shed, very close to this pile, and a bird kept flying at my head. After a couple of times, I started to look to see from where, then started to make more noise as I got closer to see where she was coming from (by then , I had twigged that there must be a nest) Sure enough, with careful inspection, I found a nest. with pale blue eggshells under it, in an old compost bag with a broken pot just inside it. The eggshells said Robin, to me, but the bird that flew out was smaller and just brown. Then one day, it was 'MY' robin that flew at me from away from the nest. So I watched more, and saw that he was taking food to the nest, almost constantly. So, he was feeding babies (and possibly the mum, whilst she was sitting), but she looked just brown, almost like a wren. And I'm almost certain that, until my boy had his fight in spring, that he was the only robin I had seen in my garden until then.
So MY question is, does the female moult or remove feathers when breeding?
Last wk, a robin was on our telegraph line while my neighbour and I talked, and we both remarked on how noisy and persistent he was. Then I ran round to my house, as heard phone, and startled a bird into my conservatory. I threw a towel over it, caught it, and found it was a juvenile robin, still scruffy but getting a few red feathers. Showed it to kids, took round to neighbour and let it go, and it flew straight up to the robin on the line and they flew away together! Was this it's Dad (too far away to make out white feathers), or Mum, or what? I'm now fascinated and trying to find out more about them, other than what they will eat and when I am likely to see them. I took them for granted before, but have been fascinated by thier ways and antics this yr, just 'cos one had a couple of white feathers!