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American Robins Habits

American Robin
American Robins, the red breasted birds, mark the return of Spring to most folks in the northern states. One of the easiest birds to watch while they go about their nesting and feeding habits since they're in most peoples backyards.

Actually, unknown to a lot of people, these birds spend the winter in much of their breeding range. However, because they spend less time in yards and congregate more in wooded areas you may not see them as often.

During milder winters, it's more common to see them in our backyards.

These birds are often used as the standard to which other birds sizes are compared; one of the most common native birds of the East, and the largest of the Thrush Family.

Hardly a garden in North America has not been visited by this bird. Often referred to as the Red Robin.


American Robins have gray upperparts and the familiar reddish breast, varying from pale rust to a dark brick red. Male and females look nearly identical. The females colors are less vibrant.

Sometimes during nesting season you'll see mud on the breast of a female, since she is the one that lines the nest with mud. The average size of this bird is 9-11 inches long.

Often, you'll see these birds hopping on lawns, meadows, and golf courses looking for earthworms. They also eat insects, fruit, and berries.

Nesting - Breeding Habits

The song of the male is to advertise his territory or to attract a mate. You'll hear them the most just before the young hatch. The typical breeding season for this bird is from April to July

The female builds the nest which is made of grasses, a middle layer of mud, then lined with fine grasses. The nest is usually placed in the crotch of a tree or shrub 5-20 feet above ground. The availability of mud at nesting time may entice these birds to nest nearby. They will also make use of wool, string and hair.
Video - Robin Feeding Young

They can produce up to three successful broods in one year. On average, two clutches are raised with less than half being successful. Only a quarter of those that do fledge survive to November. From that point on, about half of the birds alive in any year will make it to the next.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the whole population turns over on average every six years.

The female lays 3-7 light blue eggs that are incubated for 12-14 days and the young leave the nest in about 14-16 days.

These birds will return to the same territories from season to season. Sometimes they build a new nest on top of their old one. I've seen as many as three on top of one another. It's a good idea to remove old nest in baskets and off of downspouts and rafters in fall so that parasites don't overwinter.

Visitors to this site have submitted photos and stories of some unusual nesting places that this bird chooses to raise their young.

Removing the nest protects future broods should they return to the same site because parasites may travel from the old nest to the new nest. Sometimes a single female will build several nest close to one another. She will eventually select one to raise her young in. No one knows why they do this from time to time.

It's not uncommon to find Doves reusing a Robins nest to lay their eggs and raise young.

Feeding Habits - What They Eat

robin bird house
Nesting Shelf
Robins eat different types of food depending not only time of year, but even time of day. They eat earthworms early in the day and more fruit later in the day.

Because they forage largely on lawns, they are vulnerable to pesticide poisoning and can be an important indicator of chemical pollution.


This is a bird of woodland edges and opening. Prefering open ground on which it can forage for insects to eat. Try placing fruit on tray feeders or planting fruiting shrubs to attract more of them to your backyard garden.

After the breeding season, Robins flock together and go to large communal roosts at night. This habit continues from fall through winter.

Baby Robins

A good percentage of baby birds are lost due to people thinking they've rescued the little one. The young are often found on the ground without what seems to be, any parental oversight. Adults and children catch these newly fledged birds and take them inside, not knowing they've rescued a bird that didn't need rescuing.

You see, when baby robins first leave the nest, they are unable to fly. Some jump to higher branches in the nest tree and some take a tumble to the ground but landing softly. These baby birds are fine, the adults will continue to care for them. Leave Them Be!

If you're worried they may be in harms way, help them to a nearby shurb for protection and so that the adults will find and continue feeding them. The adult birds can see you a block away. So don't think because you don't see any adult birds that there are none around. Adults are listening for their young and will find them if you keep them close to where you found them.

Please share this information with others who may think they're helping these young birds. Keep your cats indoors during the nesting season and that will help a lot also. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Enjoy The Videos

This one is building a nest on a Nesting Shelf

Watch As This One Eats A Whole Worm

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Young Robin in backyard 
One morning I saw what I thought was a clump of leaves in my backyard but it turned out to be a baby robin. At first I thought it might be hurt …

Robins - Stories and Tales Shared  
About a year ago I got pulled into bird watching because a number of my good friends could quickly call off all sorts of bird names, colors, tell me where …

Robins Nest in Unusual Place 
We have many robins build nests in our yard every year, but this is the first time I have seen one on the ground. It is on the rock landscaping against …

Robins Nesting On Holiday Wreaths 
I thought some robins were building a nest nearby as I saw a lot of activity recently. I didn't see a nest but thought they had built it in a tree nearby. …

Robin's in Whipped Topping Tub 
One morning after a real windy evening we found that a robin's nest had blown out of the maple tree in our back yard. About a foot away from the nest …

American Robin My Special Gift 
We have learned a lot in three and a half weeks! The nest was built on June 10. Three eggs were laid soon after, and two babies hatched on June 25. …

My Friend, "Christopher" Robin 
I live in a ground-level condo, with a patio. We are not allowed to feed birds due to the rodent problem that it would cause, but I have had …

A Lesson From A Baby Robin & It's Mommy! 
Hello,My name is Nancy. My roommate owns his home. And with it, a lot of land & trees. Well, the robins come by the dozens! I let my 2 dogs out to use …

Nest By Our Window 
One afternoon, my wife and I noticed a large batch of moss that had been dropped on our driveway. Looking up, we noticed that there was Moss hanging …

Robin's Nest On Garage Ceiling 
Many weeks ago we noticed a bird flying in and out of our garage when we opened and/or closed the door. We weren't sure what kind it was, or why it was …

Mom Robin On The Attack 
A Robin had built a nest on my bathroom window ledge. I had watched for two season's these lovely little Robins grow and fly away. I was privileged …

Robins Nesting in Hanging Plant 
We had hung a begonia plant out on our deck and everyday noticed that petals were suspiciously falling off along with some stems. My wife also noticed …

Robin Carport Condo 
Two years ago a mother Robin built a nest in the top of a flower wreath hanging on the carport wall. She laid 4 eggs and dutifully sat on them most …

Robin Attack! 
It was one sunny summer day. My dad, brothers, and I were getting to go fishing. My dad was getting the fishing poles ready while Dan, Rob,(my brothers)and …

Window With A View 
Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching a family of baby Robins as they nested right outside my window. When I say outside my window, I mean …

Pictures of American Robin and Stories Not rated yet
We heard some chirping outside of our apartment. It didn't take long to find the nest with 3 eggs. They hatched a few days ago. We need to be careful …

Robin Nest On Bird Feeder Not rated yet
We had a robin who built her nest this spring on the outside edge of our large wooden birdfeeder. We had always seen them in the past build in shrubs or …

American Robin Bird Stories Not rated yet
I have always loved birds. When I was an infant my mother would put me in front of our picture window to watch the bird feeders outside. She said I would …

Robin Karma Not rated yet
I was having some overgrown tree shrubbery removed from my back yard. With the felling of the first tree, a Robin's nest was dislodged. The man cutting …

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By Gene Planker