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Birds--General/Will a Sparrow Adopt a Robin?


I work in a Nursing home, and we found a Baby Robin in a Vent, and we were unable to get it back to its nest. I took it outside, and left it. It was pretty close to being able to fly, so I thought it would have a Small chance of Surviving. A resident later saw the bird, and knew of a Sparrow Nest in a Grill. He told the nurse that he wanted the bird placed in the nest because the Mother would adopt the baby. (The sparrows are near the time of being able to fly also.) She Agreed. I told the nurse this was a bad idea, that the mother bird would either Kill the baby robin, or abandon her nest. The Nurse told me, that since he was Native American, he knew better then me. I gave up and did what I was told. Was I correct? or was he correct?

There are all kinds of problems with their solution. First, if the robin is close to flying, it has left the nest and should not be in any nest, its own or any other one. The parents will take care of it on the ground until it can fly. If you put it in a sparrow nest, it will just jump out. The sparrows will not adopt it or kill it but they might abandon their own nest. You did the right thing by putting it outside where it belongs. Nature knows best.


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Roger Lederer


Any and all questions about WILD birds - not caged, domestic or poultry. Can answer questions about identification, taxonomy, behavior, courtship, plumage, flight, or anything else. Wild birds only, please.


Taught ornithology (the study of birds) at the university level for 30 years. Have written five books on birds, published 30 scientific articles, write a blog on birds, have the website, lectured to hundreds of groups on birds,and have traveled to 90 countries studying birds.

A variety of ornithological and conservation organizations.

Real Simple Magazine, Enterprise-Record, and several ornithological and ecological journals.

PhD in Zoology with emphasis in ornithology.

Awards and Honors
Professional Achievement Award, Jack Rawlins Chair of Environmental Literach.

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