Wild Animals/Robins


A robin has a nest on our porch, she has successfully raised four babies.  They left a week ago. Now there is another robin laying eggs in the same nest, one egg so far, is this the same robin?  I thought once a nest was used it wouldn't be used again.

Dear Christine

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Robin says that a new nest is used for each brood. In northern areas the first clutch is usually placed in an evergreen tree or shrub, while later broods are placed in deciduous trees.

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/FAQNestsEggs.html says that moving a nest makes it a different nest. This could indicate that another robin will lay eggs in a nest made by another robin.  

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/FAQNestsEggs.html says that robins may repair or build on top of a previous nest, so the robin laying eggs now may be the same robin that successfully raised four babies. Despite this, most robins build a new nest, as a used nest is a mess, stretched out and often home to insects or parasites and possibly poop.

It seems more likely that a new robin has laid eggs in the nest, but I cannot definitely state this. Unless the first robin had some identifying marks, such as having been ringed, it would be difficult to determine if the new robin is the same one that made the nest.

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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