Wild Animals/robins

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Question
baby robins
baby robins  

empty nest
empty nest  
Yesterday we had a robin nest in a tree with four baby birds.  Both parents fed the birds.  This morning the nest is completely empty.  There is nothing in the nest or on the ground.  Do robins ever move their young to another nest if they feel threatened?  I feel badly because we did put up a ladder to peek in the nest and take a picture.  We have seen no cats around or any other animal but that doesn't mean they aren't there at night.  It is just such a mystery and I don't want to be the reason they are gone.

Answer
Dear Retha

Thank you for your question and for your concern about the baby robins. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

Roger Lederer (http://en.allexperts.com/q/Birding-1435/2010/5/Baby-robins-missing-nest.htm) says that baby robins jump out of the nest before they can fly, as it is too crowded in the nest. The parents take care of the babies on the ground until they can fly.

The chicks in your photo seem too young to be ready to leave the nest, so, unfortunately, I think they have been the victim of a predator. These include rats, squirrels, jays, raccoons, opossums, cats and others listed in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_robin#Threats and http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/robins.html.

Hopefully, the parents have made a nest elsewhere and will have more luck next time.

All the best

Jonathan

Wild Animals

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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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