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How does a robin know which nest is theirs when they come back from migration?

Robins and other migrant song birds do not reuse old nests. They always start over on new ones. Cavity nesters like some flycatchers might try to go back to a previous location but would have to compete with other birds for it.

J. Elliott


There have been cases where the same nesting Robins return to the same location to build a nest over older ones. The same ledge was used for over four years straight by one pair as reported by Pat Ready of Wisconsin birding fame. It should be noted that each time a new nest was constructed.

Steve Sample

Robins will build a new nest every year! They often return to the same area to nest, but will choose a spot that is a bit different and rebuild a new nest since their old nest has most likely been destroyed by the winter.

Grace Fields

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