Wild Animals/Baby Robins

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Question
Hello,
A robin built a nest on a ledge outside my home's second story window. She laid 4 eggs around 2 weeks ago.  Last evening when she was gone I peeked in the nest and there was 1 baby bird just laying there not moving, and the other 3 eggs were unhatched.  This morning I peeked in again and there were no babies and only 1 egg. If the eggs hatched and the babies didn't survive what happened to the bodies and egg shells? I didn't see any on my driveway below the nest. Also is the mortality rate for baby birds so high that they could all die immediately after hatching?

Thanks

Answer
Dear Todd

Thank you for your questions. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

First of all, I can't tell you what happened to the robin chicks and eggs, but I suspect they were victims of predators.

As regards mortality rates, a pair of robins only needs to produce two chicks that become adults in order to replace themselves. This means that chick mortality is high (http://animal.discovery.com/birds/american-robin.htm) and most chicks die before becoming adults and the younger the chick, the more vulnerable it is, although it is also very vulnerable just after leaving the nest, but before it is able to fly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Robin and http://www.seattleaudubon.org/sas/LearnAboutBirds/SeasonalFacts/AmericanRobin.as say that only 20-25% of young Robins survive the first year.

All the best

Jonathan

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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