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American Robin

Summary: American robins may become nuisances to people by tapping on reflective surfaces, such as windowpanes and mirrors. They may also wake people up very early in the morning because that is their favorite time to sing.

Wisconsin's claims the American robin as its state bird, but this bird can be found all over North America. The American robin is a songbird with a high-pitched, upbeat tune. The robin sings when it is hungry or to warn other robins against predators. It especially enjoys singing early in the morning, and is usually the first bird to do so at dawn. So, while you may be annoyed by a bird waking you, to other birds, it certainly is a Rockin' Robin.

The American robin is quite a large bird measuring between 8 and 11 inches in height, and having a wingspan of 12 to 16 inches. The main physical difference


between a male and female American robin is that the female usually has feathers that are paler in color. Both males and females have white moon-shaped patches surrounding their eyes. They have brown feathers and red or orange feathers on their breast. They have white feathers on their throat and near their tail, as well as a yellow bill.

Female robins guard the nest, while male robins assemble in roosts. There can be hundreds of thousands of robins in a single roost alone. That is one big party! Females join the males when they are done nesting.

American robins typically breed from April through July. The females make nests out of mud, twigs, grass, and feathers. American robins usually lay eggs two or three times each year, with about three to five eggs per brood. A new nest is built for each brood. Only about 40 percent of nests produce healthy young robins.

The eggs of a robin are about an inch in length and are blue. (This is where Crayola got the idea for the crayon called Robin's Egg Blue!) As with many other types of birds, there are albino robins. Partial albino robins can have pure white feathers and normal eye coloration. True albino robins, however, lack pigmentation in their eyes. This causes them to be blind at a very early age.

American robins like to eat fruit, berries, caterpillars, earthworms, beetle grubs, grasshoppers, and even small snakes. Their appetites change depending on the time of day. These robins each have an esophagus that widens in order for them to store food. The males and females both try to gather as much food as possible for their young chicks. They can feed the chicks up to one hundred times per day. And, humans complain when they have to get up once in the middle of the night to feed a new baby.

The average lifespan of an American robin is about six years. One robin was known to live for fourteen years, but this lifespan is extremely rare.


American robins like to fly around gardens, yards, and forest areas. You might see robins flying around your yard, searching for food, and returning home to their nests deep inside your trees or shrubs.

Now that you have some background on the American robin, you may be wondering why such an intricate bird could be a pest to you and your family. Well, the robin could eat any plants that you may be growing. Also, it could cause damage to your windshields, windowpanes, mirrors, and other reflective surfaces by pecking at them. They often build their nests in places you would prefer to remain nest-free.

If you discover a robin's nest on your property, a good suggestion is to leave it alone. If you move it, the mother robin may not return to the nest, not due to human handling, but because she does not associate the nest with the new surroundings.

There is a good chance that not all of the eggs in the nest will develop into young robins. If this is the case, the adult robins will dispose of the bad eggs after the others have hatched. So, if you physically move or touch the nest, the adult robins will not return and some of the eggs will go rotten. I guarantee you do not want that smell lingering in your backyard.

The good news is that the female robin only takes two weeks to incubate the eggs, and the young robins only take an additional two weeks to mature. They will then leave the nest, and the female robin will either build a new one or fly south for the winter. You can dispose of the nest as soon as the robins leave it. However, if you notice that the female robin begins to build a new nest, you should move it or knock it down before she hatches her eggs. Otherwise, you will have to repeat the cycle again.

Unfortunately, you are going to have to become a morning person for about a month because the robins will be singing bright and early to wake you up.

Ask Rick A Question


Annemarie Conklin
07 Jun 2012, 12:23
I have been feeding a baby robin for four weeks now. He is confined in a bedroom, has room to fly, open screened window to look out. He gets put in a net type playpen and covered for the night and he gets his sleep and so do I. He is quite dependent on me for his food. I have brought other birds through with a vet recommendation of canned dog food pureed in the blender. He loves it as I feed him on the end of double flat toothpicks, drinks water on his own. He enjoys my company. He loved his first bath but now will only dunk his head and chest in. He is quite comical. How will he thrive in the outdoors and when should I let him go? Should I be introducing new food, like worms etc.? He still has speckled breast and back, some orange coming on with new feathers. I worry once I let him go if he knows what to do?
Thank you for your kind attention in this matter. Annemarie Conklin
Ask the Exterminator
07 Jun 2012, 20:21
I cannot help you, but there are websites that are dedicated to raising wild birds. Personally, I would never bring a wild bird inside. It's not Nature's way.
08 Jun 2012, 01:52
@Annemarie. I empathize with you though I do understand what the Exterminator is saying. But we softies just can't rest leaving a baby animal defenseless, to starve or be eaten. I myself have taken in a couple of baby wild animals - a bird and a rabbit - when they were brought to me by my cats (they're good hunters but surprisingly gentle!). I called my local wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible, who were very helpful - they took the babies and nurtured them for a while to properly strengthen and prepare them for release back into the wild. They even reported the successful releases to me. I must admit, I felt much better having done it this way.
09 Jun 2012, 23:56
The robins in our yard seem to be getting more and more aggressive. Will the robins actually fly into us or our kids?
Thanks for your time.
Ask the Exterminator
10 Jun 2012, 16:33
Get close enough to their nest and you'll be ducking and running for cover.
27 Jun 2012, 12:28
I have a robin's nest on my front porch where the mom laid eggs and they all hatched and left the nest. It was very exciting...we photographed the entire thing. No robins for at least a couple of weeks, until this morning when I noticed a robin is back. Is it possible that the original robin came back to lay a new batch of eggs? My kids will be thrilled if that's the case!
Ask the Exterminator
27 Jun 2012, 12:37
Sometimes a pair of robins will return to where they built their first nest, do some refurbishing work and take up residence again. Here's the downside. That nest is loaded with mites. The longer that nest stays in place, the more likely you are to get a mite infestation in your house. Personally, I never allow birds to build nests on my house if I can prevent it.
05 Jul 2012, 23:44
I will keep that in mind! Thanks for the info. The robin has since laid four eggs....we had three the last time. How long after they fly away can I remove the nest?
21 Jul 2012, 15:45
I don't know when, but I recently found out that a robin laid 3 eggs in my backyard and now they've hatched. I've watched the mother go back and forth collecting food for her young. The babies have grown feathers all over, but when do you think they will fly away? How can I watch them fly? Will the robin lay eggs again in that same nest?
03 Aug 2012, 12:16
I had a Robins nest literally right outside our door. It was the most incredible experience I have ever had. To be ale to watch the babies go from eggs to flying off as adults was amazing! I never heard them chirp or sing and after the first couple days the momma wouldn't leave her nest whenever we would have to leave or come home. We never got dived bombed either.
02 May 2013, 21:11

I don't know if this comment section is still active, but I'll give it a try. I was giving a honeysuckle bush a very much needed deep pruning when I came upon a robin's nest (there's one egg in there). It was too late. I'd already pruned off much of the cover. I was still there when the mother came back, and she started sounding what I took to be a distress chirp. My worry is that predators will see the egg and take it. Is that possible?
Ask the Exterminator
03 May 2013, 07:39
This site is alive and well, but you posted your question in the comments box. Regardless, the egg will be found and eaten. That's Nature's way. The robin will quickly produce more eggs, so not to worry.
02 Jun 2013, 07:22
Why do some chirp all day and all night without stop?
Only one lives in a tree behind my apartment and I have noticed it has never stopped chirping for the last month.
Also, Is there any way to make it move on to another tree or area?
Can't have the window open without going insane because of it.
04 Jun 2013, 21:02
We have 3 baby robins that hatched about 5 days ago... one of the babies has fallen out a couple of times because it looks like the bottom has given way. Is there anything I can do to fix the nest or will the mother robin fix it?
Loretta Ayers
06 Jun 2013, 09:29
If the robin has left a nest of eggs, should I throw out the whole nest? She has re used it many times. I saw her sitting near it, but for some reason she won't sit on the eggs anymore. It's been 3 days. She keeps coming back & then just flying away. Is she waiting for me to throw the eggs away? And will she build a new nest, or use this one Again?
Ask the Exterminator
06 Jun 2013, 15:01
Is she waiting for you to throw the eggs away? Have you discovered some new form of communication with another species? No, she is not waiting for you to do anything, nor should you. I would remove the nest if it sits on your house because of the mites that could infest your home.
10 Jun 2013, 06:30
I hate Robins they are annoying as heck. I've had this one stupid robins I don't care I've thrown at it, made noise over it for hours this stupid bird will not move on. I hate this loud chirping retarded ass bird. How can I get it to get the hell away from my house making noise at 2am to 5am EVERY morning?
10 Jun 2013, 06:35
Not to mention this bird started doing it's chirping at 2am back in April 2013 it's now June 2013.
20 Jun 2013, 22:51
What happened to the female robin if the male is the onlybone feeding the babies? Will they survive?
Ask the Exterminator
21 Jun 2013, 09:52
They should if the male continues to be attentive.
21 Jun 2013, 18:17
We had robins build a nest by our front door. The babies flew out this afternoon. How long before we can remove the nest?
Ask the Exterminator
24 Jun 2013, 10:52
Remove the nest now.
04 Jul 2013, 08:37
robin singing all day for 3 weeks I am about to loose my mind...Im buying a gun
09 Jul 2013, 11:14
This is really going to sound odd.
I have a Robin on my backyard swing and has been their for 2 days now. I found that she has an egg on the cushion of the swing. The Robin sits next to it and one time put her wing over it but does not sit on it....Is this normal...this egg is white with brown speckles not blue....I don't know what to do...I don't want to take the egg away...I feel bad for her....she sits next to the egg and looks like she is incubating it but never on top of it....Any ideas or suggestions?
Eileen Kelly
24 Jan 2014, 13:59
An early arrival [third week of January 2014] of robins visit outside my office window daily. They eat the berries. One died and I think it was the one that was trying to eat a berry and might have choked or it died from the frigid temperatures. The weird thing was that it disappeared from the spot where it lay and the other robins kept on feeding. There were no footprints in the snow showing it was carried away by a human. What happened to it? Could the robins have moved it elsewhere? I read another comment of a similar experience, where a dead robin had been moved after a person had made sure it was dead and was in a different location not put there by the person who had found it dead.
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