do birds fight over nests

One spring morning I was sitting outside watching robins eat worms on the lawn when suddenly the birds all started fighting like an angry mob.

After a brief burst of flapping wings and loud chirping sounds, they suddenly calmed back down and everything returned to normal.

If you’ve ever seen birds fighting like this, you might wonder why they get so crazy and aggressive.

Like all wild animals, birds sometimes have to stand up for themselves in order to get what they need for survival.

So today let’s explore this interesting behavior and gain some deeper insight into what’s happening when birds fight…

Aggression Towards Nest Robbers

When a nest robber enters their territory, birds exhibit a completely different but comparable aggressive behavior.

Birds such as crows, ravens, and jays will frequently attack nest robbers.

In certain cases, the presence of non-competitive species nearby is beneficial for birds.

Birds will congregate and swarm an intruder nest robber when they see one approaching in order to agitate and distract the

Compared to typical male-to-male aggression, this is a highly aggressive behavior that can actually be much more intense and long-lasting.

Nonetheless, bird alarm reactions to nest robbers usually do not escalate to the point of actual contact, much like territorial fights.

Do Birds Fight To The Death?

Aggressive behavior is really more about posturing and proving their dominance without actually putting themselves in danger, though injuries can happen during songbird fights.

It’s very dangerous for birds to actually engage in physical conflict. If they weaken themselves during fights, it could make them more vulnerable to predation.

Because of this, birds only go as far as necessary to demonstrate their assertiveness without really endangering themselves.

Birds already have to contend with problems from hawks and cats.

Do Birds Fight When They Mate?

Mating is a very different behavior from fighting. There appears to be a fleeting flap of wings as the male quietly mounts the female and perches next to her.

Birds that are mating have a far more subtle Here are several major differences to notice:

  • Mating happens between a male & a female
  • Birds don’t make much noise when they mate
  • The female doesn’t try to escape

All of these stand in stark contrast to the fighting and territorial aggressiveness that are most frequently seen.

As discussed before, fighting activity is typically a male-to-male behavior. Thus, if you can distinguish between male and female birds, you can easily distinguish mating from fighting.

In addition, there is usually a lot more movement and noise when male birds fight.

do birds fight over nests

From his perch, the dominant bird may conclude the battle with a ferocious song.

Male birds fight throughout the day, but mating also takes place in the morning when the female has more time to lay her eggs.

You can quickly become proficient at identifying the differences by practicing the process of looking for these indicators.


Why do birds fight over nests?

It means there are male birds with territorial boundaries protecting their nests & mates. While territorial behavior can occur in less obvious ways at all times of year, birds are most likely to fight during peak times of courtship and nesting.

What bird attacks other birds nests?

House Wrens, Troglodytes aedon. are notorious for destroying clutches of other birds, including those of conspecifics. The destruction usually involves pecking holes in eggs and removing the soft lining from the nest cup; ifsmall nestlings are present, they may also be killed (Kendeigh 1941).

Do birds compete for nests?

Sometimes one can observe chases and even violence. But often nest site competition is so subtle it’s practically invisible (to us). If a dominant species is simply able to monopolize the area around a nest box, subordinate species may not even attempt nesting.

Do birds defend their nests?

Not all birds defend their nests as directly and aggressively as dive-bombers. Some species try more creative approaches to distract or scare away predators from their nest. The most famous distraction display is the Killdeer’s “broken wing” act.