Wild Animals/baby robin


We have a nest outside our back door, up on the top of a down spout curve.  It seems like 1 of 3 babies is left in the nest - is that a normal process? I feel that this baby was the weakest and have not yet noticed the mom coming back to feed this one.  The other 2 seem to be gone.

Dear Margie

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_robin#Breeding says all the chicks of a brood leave the nest within 2 days of each other. I think you're right in suggesting that the remaining chick is the weakest one. Laura Erickson (https://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/ExpertAnswer13.html) says that some chicks starve if their parents cannot find enough food for them. Hungrier chicks tend to beg for food more assertively until they become week and no longer appear hungry, so the parents focus on the stronger chicks. It is better for the strongest chicks to have enough food to survive than to provide limited amounts of food to each chick, so none of them survive. A pair of robins only needs to produce two chicks that survive to become breeding adults. This means that the population should stay stable. If too many chicks survive, the population goes up. If too few survive, it goers down. If two of the chicks have survived, the breeding process has been successful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_robin#Breeding says only 25% of young robins survive the first year.

I hope this helps

All the best


Wild Animals

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.