Every bird lover instantly falls in love with the American Robin due to its majestic beauty and beautiful calls.
Little wonder this bird is the state bird for the states of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The behavior of these birds is what we seek to discuss with a focus on their breeding habits.
These social birds have specific exciting characteristics that you’ll learn from this article. Like most bird species, nest building and raising their young are the same.
So, are these nests only built for one-time usage, or do American robins reuse the same?
About American Robins
To better answer the question on nest reuse, it’s essential to consider different aspects such as nest size, where these are mostly built, who builds the nest, and the length of the breeding season.
These questions help with a better understanding of the subject being discussed.
The popularity of the American robin extends beyond America to Europe. That is the reason why these birds have been adopted as the national bird of Great Britain.
With this said, let’s discuss the points mentioned to appreciate better what these birds are about.
i. Robin Nest Size
Whenever robins build their nests, the holding area or rounded part is around 4 inches wide, with the nest measuring 6 inches across.
To keep their eggs and hatchlings safe, the sides of the nests extend to around 4 to 6 inches high. American robins adopt a collaborative approach to caring for hatchlings.
After incubating the eggs for two weeks, both parents care for the young until they can exit the nest independently. Eggs laid are typically between 2 to 4 eggs laid each breeding season.
In terms of size, the eggs aren’t that large and are about the size of a quarter.
ii. Where Robin Nests are Built
Like a lot of bird species, robins carefully select their nesting sites. Ideal conditions sought by these birds include safety from predators, proper shelter or covering, and protection from the elements.
For the most part, trees offer good nesting locations for robins. However, their nests have been found below the eaves of buildings.
Nesting locations such as those underneath eaves of buildings are mainly targeted when the area is undisturbed or when the general condition of the site is favorable.
Robins prefer a height of about 25 feet off the ground for building their nests.
Hatchlings need to be within the safety of the nest until they become strong enough to exit. So, will the old nesting site be reused? You’ll need to read on for such details and more.
iii. Who Builds the Nest
It’s not difficult to figure out who builds the nests. The females are solely responsible for this action.
This is understandable as she knows her unique needs and understands the special conditions required by hatchlings when they emerge. Do Robin males play any role?
They do! These have an equally important function involving sourcing and gathering nesting materials. Nesting materials are pretty much the same as those used by a lot of bird species.
They include dry grass, twigs, moss, and lichens, among other items.
iv. Length of Breeding Season
The breeding season’s length is another aspect to consider as it’s breeding-related. For these birds, breeding commences as spring sets in.
A female robin is known to have two or more broods within a single breeding season. This is one of the reasons why nest reuse is often brought up.
With hatchlings strong enough to exit the nest, the end of September is when most breeding activity stops, and the nest is evacuated due to colder temperatures.
Robbin Nest Reuse: Does it happen?
Unlike what some publications may have you believe, robins mostly don’t reuse their nests. Every breeding season, a new and favorable location and the nest building.
The closest thing to nest reuse is when a new nest is built on top of another. Here, the older one isn’t used.
Some reinforcements of the older nest may be made to hold the new, but never the old nest one being reused. However, there are reported situations where robins have been noticed to build multiple nests simultaneously.
If so, will they be breeding in each of these nests?
Building Multiple Nests
In the absence of nest reuse, the closest thing to that involves building multiple nests.
There have been reports where robins have been found to build 2 to 26 different nests! It sounds crazy, but that is the verifiable story. In this case, can a female robin be able to breed in the multiple nests built?
Robins don’t lay two sets of eggs at the same time. They can only distribute their eggs by applying one or two in one nest and laying the others in another.
Of course, the bird will have to take turns to cater to or incubate these eggs. If so, why build multiple nests simultaneously that cannot be used?
First, building multiple nests by robins isn’t an everyday occurrence. However, when it does happen, it’s termed a “supernormal stimuli.”
Because our focus here is different, you’ll have to read up on what that is all about and how it affects these birds.
Is there a reason why Robins don’t reuse their Nests?
While finding answers to the reuse of nests, it’s observed that robins do not reuse their nests.
However, we’ve not stated the “why.” Is there a reason why robins don’t reuse their nests? So far, no honest answer has been given to explain the cause.
At best, we could come up with our reasons, including the old nest being too messy for reuse. Also, the old nest might be home to insects and parasites, in addition to not being structurally sound.
It doesn’t take much for these birds to set up a new nest in the place of the old.
Robins don’t reuse their nests. This critical piece of information has been provided alongside other aspects of breeding.