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Wild Animals/Unwanted Robin's Nest

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Question
Hello! This spring a pair of robins built their nest in a crab-apple tree in my front yard. We had planned to remove the tree but now we don't know what to do. There are a few babies in the nest now and I don't want to disturb the family of robins. Is there any time that the birds will abandon the nest and make it safe to remove the tree? I assume the babies will eventually move on, but will the parents stay or build a new nest elsewhere? I really don't want to cause harm to the birds but the tree needs to go! Thank you!

Answer
Dear Kelly

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_robin#Breeding says that the babies leave the nest about 2 weeks after hatching. The chicks leave the nest within two days of each other and are able to fly about two weeks after fledging. http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/FAQNestsEggs.html says that if the robins have invested a lot of time and energy in the nest, they are less likely to leave the tree they nest in. This means that if the chicks survive, the parents are likely to use the same tree for a new brood. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Robin/lifehistory says that robins can have 3 broods a year and http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Turdus_migratorius/ says the breeding season lasts from April-July. This indicates that if the robins breed successfully, you shouldn't remove the tree before August.

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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