Robins built a nest on top of a light fixture beneath the eaves on
the side of our garage. The nest was less than 6 feet above ground. We could
tell that eggs had been laid when the female spent most of her time on the
nest, but would occasionally leave to feed herself. We could walk by within less
than a foot of the nest without any reaction from the nest sitter. After about
two weeks, we could see two hatchlings awaiting food. Soon, however, we observed
a robin with a broken wing on the other side of our house and subsequently saw
no activity near the nest. We checked the inactive nest a few days later to find
two dead hatchlings and two unhatched eggs. It appears that the female had been
alone to care for her young and became injured and unable to care for them. I
later found a dead adult robin on the ground on the oppsite side of our garage.
We are wondering where the male was in this situation, and whether the male mate
could have raised the young alone if the female were injured or killed. That
obviously did not happen this time.
Robin nest failures are common and especially when they select a nest site near
humans. Few people can tell the difference between the male robin and the female.
Both parents help with the young, but the female is on the nest most of the time.
I observed one couple share this activity many years ago.
When one parent dies, the nest is usually abandoned. Since the average age of a
robin is about 1-2 years, death is not uncommon.
To help further answer your question:
Click here to return to the Zoology Archives
Update: June 2012