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Wild Animals/Fledgling Robins leaving the nest


I have had a pair of Robins living on my porch this summer. They have hatched and raised two separate clutches of chicks, and both times I awaited eagerly to see the chicks "practicing" to leave the nest... In both cases, however, the family was all present and accounted for one day, and then gone the next(all members, including chicks and parents). After the first brood left, I was surprised to find the adults returned and sitting on new eggs a few weeks later. Then with the 2nd brood, the chicks weresitting on the edge of the nest one evening, stretching their wings like they were getting ready to give it a try, and  next morning they were gone. I doubt the parents will return again, because it is cooling down to autumn and I think they will be migrating now.

My question is: How do the robin chicks normally fledge? Is this normal behavior for them to just disappear overnight? Does the "family" take it on the road, so to speak, and teach the chicks survival away from their home nest?

Thanks in advance for your input!

Dear Danette

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used. says that the definition of fledge varies. FGenerally speaking it means that the feathers and wing muscles of a young bird are sufficiently developed for flight. It also describes the act of a chick's parents raising it to a fully grown state. A young bird that has recently fledged but is still dependent upon parental care and feeding is called a fledgling. In the case of robins, fledged birds have developed flight feathers and wing muscles before leaving the nest, but take some time to develop their flying skills after leaving the nest.

It is normal behaviour for the young birds to leave the nest overnight and the parents will protect the fledged young until they are independent. It seems that you have been a bit unlucky not to have seen the robins leaving the nest. and say that robins fledge on day 13 (with a range of 9-16 days)after hatching and leave the nest about 2 weeks after hatching. Nest mates leave the nest within one to two days of each other. Fledgling birds wander off for a short distance
from the nest, but follow their parents around and beg food from them. Both parents actively protect and feed the fledged chicks until they learn to forage on their own. The adults give alarm calls and dive-bomb predators that come near the young birds. Females follow the fledglings at first; later only the male does. The female will begin a second nest when the male leads the juvenile birds to a communal roost site. The cryptically colored young birds perch in bushes or trees for protection from predators and can fly short distances after leaving the nest. Their wings develop rapidly and the birds are  proficient at flying two weeks after fledging and can manage independently. and say that most robins fly south by the end of August ates vary with latitude and climate), so it is unlikely that the adult robins will produce another brood.

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'.

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

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