do robins attack other birds nests

Kung-fu robin: The robin sings to mark out its territory and is fiercely territorial and wont tolerate another robin on its turf

Its public is one of a tame, friendly bird, when in reality, it is one of the most aggressive birds you could meet! If you’re another robin that is. Robins are fiercely territorial throughout the year and will not tolerate another robin entering their patch of turf. And it’s not just the males. Females also defend a territory through autumn and winter. Unlike other bird species, both the males and females have red breast feathers, making them difficult to tell apart.

Zoologists studying its behaviour revealed that a robin will attack anything that remotely resembles another robin in its territory — basically anything displaying a red patch — including stuffed birds (and even headless stuffed birds!), soft toys, or their own reflection in a window, car mirror or windscreen. They will also attack a tuft of red feather. Robins will even fight to the death if necessary.

Thankfully it rarely comes to that, and most intruders can be deterred through song. While we like to think robins sing for joy, ours and their own, they actually use song to defend their territory and tell other robins ‘this place is already occupied’.

In the northern hemisphere, it is generally just male birds who sing, but the robin is one of the exceptions! Although shorter and less elaborate than the male’s song, it could be said that the female’s song is more chirpy and bright.

Of course, holding its own territory outside the breeding season means it’s important the female can also sing. Birdsong is a non-contact way of delineating boundaries between territories.

A powerful singing voice tells your neighbours that you’re still alive, and well-fed and healthy enough to be able to sing, so it’s not worth trying to intrude on your land. Another strong reason for birds to sing is of course to attract a mate. Studies have shown that females often judge potential mates by the quality of their song.

In late winter, robins roam outside their territories as they try to find a mate, and once they do, nest-building begins, usually in early March but sometimes earlier. A robin’s nest is cup-shaped and made from moss and dead leaves, often lined with animal hair. A friend of mine had a West Highland White and when she discovered an old robin’s nest in her shed, she found it was thickly lined with the white hairs of her terrier.

Robins aren’t fussy about where they nest. They have built their nests in the funniest of places, including empty shoes, hats, or pots, under car bonnets, or even in the pocket of a jacket hanging in a garden shed. Of course, they also make nests in hedges and shrubs, close enough to the ground, among dense vegetation.

Robins can have two, and sometimes three, nests in a year. The female lays between four and six eggs. Only the mother incubates the eggs, for around 14 days until they hatch. But once hatched, both parents work together to feed the chicks for another two weeks until they’re ready to leave the nest.

Of course, their flight feathers may not have fully grown in at this time, so sometimes they leave the nest before they are able to fly. Young robins are a similar size and shape to their parents, but their colours are very different, being speckled brown, and this probably helps to offer camouflage as they hop in and out of shrubbery in these early days of life.

Only about half of robin eggs laid will survive to adulthood, and the average lifespan in the wild is around two years.

While common in woodland, parks and gardens, robins are also successful in most Irish habitats, probably due in no small part to their feistiness and opportunistic attitude. Throughout summer they concentrate of invertebrates, worms, insects and spiders.

In winter, when insects are hard to come by, they concentrate on berries, fruit and seeds, including from garden bird tables. Their fluffed-up coat of feathers can make them look fat and well-fed, but they do this to help keep warm and underneath all those feathers they might be underweight, which can be fatal at this time of year.

A robin can’t hang on your birdfeeders like the tits and finches, so you’ll have to choose a flat surface or the ground if you want to feed robins.

The robin’s habit of following humans around the garden probably evolved long ago, when this opportunistic species learned to follow animals like wild boar. While the omnivorous boar digs in the ground for food — such as roots, tubers, bulbs, and insects like leatherjackets — a quick robin could grab a handy worm.

When you see a robin watching and waiting in your garden, you may see it as either friendly or fierce, but I think a cold winter’s day is always warmed by their cheery presence.

Juanita Browne has written a number of wildlife books, including My First Book of Irish Animals and The Great Big Book of Irish Wildlife.

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Its reputation is that of a gentle, amiable bird, but in actuality, it’s among the most hostile species you could come across! If you’re a fellow robin that is All year long, robins are extremely territorial and will not put up with another robin getting into their turf. And it’s not just the males. Females also defend a territory through autumn and winter. Unlike other bird species, the males and females have red breast feathers, which makes it challenging to distinguish between the two.

They focus on berries, fruit, and seeds during the winter months when insects are scarce, especially from garden bird tables. Although they may appear overweight and well-fed due to their fluffy coat of feathers, they may be underweight, which can be deadly during this time of year. They do this to stay warm.

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Robins aren’t fussy about where they nest. They have created their nests in the most unusual locations, such as beneath car bonnets, in the pockets of jackets hanging in garden sheds, or inside empty shoes, hats, or pots. Naturally, they also build their nests in dense vegetation among hedges and shrubs that are relatively close to the ground.

The robin is one of the few birds in the northern hemisphere that sings! Its song is shorter and less complex than that of the male, but it could be said that it is brighter and more chirpy.

We’ve had robins nesting in a tree next to the garage for a long time. this year there was a dove. she had 2 eggs. After roughly two weeks, we discovered the nest halfway down the tree and the eggs broken on the ground. The following day, a robin had made her nest in the same location (there were no weather issues). Are robins sufficiently hostile or possessive to demolish another bird’s nest in order to assert their territory?

FAQ

Do robins rob other birds nests?

The Short Answer: Laura, most likely the robin is waiting for the cardinals to make a mistake so it can raid their nest, either to steal nesting materials, or more likely, to steal eggs or baby cardinals. Birds are constantly looking for opportunities to raid nests.

Are robins aggressive to other birds?

Robins are particularly aggressive to most of the other small birds and unlike most birds, they maintain – and defend – their territories all year (unless the weather gets really bad). Not sure what you can do about it, short of shooting it. You could try giving it it’s own feeder to distract it from the Bullfinches.

What birds attack robin nests?

A. The main predators of robin eggs are snakes, squirrels, blue jays, and crows. Deer eat a lot of bird eggs and nestlings, too, but only from ground nests.

What birds take over robins nest?

Robins are in turn eaten by foxes, bobcats, hawks, shrikes, and owls, and crows and blue jays often take their eggs and babies.