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Wild Animals/Baby robin leaving nest too early


I have a nest of baby robins on the support beam of my deck.  Both the mother and father have been very attentive to all three babies.  I believe they hatched about 9 or 10 days ago.  All of the birds are use to our presence and will even feed the babies while we are on the deck or the patio under the deck.  Today, I walked on the deck and must have startled one of the babbles because it tried to fly and landed softly in the grass.  It is able to hop, spread its wings and manage short flights of a couple feet.  The mother and father were very distressed when this occurred.  The baby hopped into the tall grass and woods behind our house.  I would like to put it back into its nest but could not find it by the time I entered the yard.  The other two babies are still snug in the nest.  I can hear the baby calling for its parents.  I believe they are looking for the baby but am concerned it is too early for the baby to be out of the nest and in the woods with predators such as raccoons, snakes, cats, a fox and whatever else may be around.  The weeds are too thick and the slope is too steep for me to search.  Is there anything else I should do to try and help this baby back to the nest or to survive? Needless to say, I feel so badly that I spooked it away.  Thank you for any help or advice you may provide.

Dear Kara

Thank you for your question and your detailed observations. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

The young robin can hop about and spread its wings to make short flights. This indicates that it was ready to leave the nest, rather than having fallen out. You don't need to return it to the nest. In fact, this will provide less space for the other chicks in the nest. says that the mother and father actively protect and feed fledged chicks until they learn to forage on their own. The adults give alarm calls and dive-bombs predators, including humans, that come near the chicks, which perch in bushes or trees for protection from predators. All this agrees with your observations about the parents being distressed. Unfortunately, they were worried about you, as they thought you may be trying to hurt the chick and didn't know you were trying to help it. It would be best to leave the chick by itself. Hopefully, its parents will look after it and soon it will be able to fly away from predators.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


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.


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'.

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

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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