Birds are busily building their nests in our yard (near Lookout CA, Modoc County). A couple days ago I watched a female American robin (Turdus migratorius) as she gathered grass to build her nest. I know it was a female because although male and female robins look similar, female robins build the nest. I always thought a robin would gather a piece of nest material, return to the nest to incorporate the material into the nest and then gather another bit of material. Wrong! I watched this robin collect as many pieces of grass as possible in her bill, return to the nest site to deposit the grass and then repeat the process. Leonard and I could not help laughing each time she stuffed her bill with grass. It looked like the robin had moustaches.
Robin nests are located above the ground in dense brush or in a fork between tree branches. Robins will also utilize eaves and other places with a flat “platform” sheltered from the weather. One year a robin built her nest atop a ladder a friend had leaning against the garage. Every spring since, this friend puts the ladder against the garage and a robin builds her nest on it.
Robin nests consist of an outer shell constructed of coarse grasses, twigs, paper, rootlets, moss and feathers. The shell is stabilized with an inner layer of mud and then lined with fine grass or other soft materials. Up to five light blue eggs are incubated by the female. After 14 days the chicks hatch and remain in the nest for about 13 days before fledging. Robins begin to breed early in the spring and usually have 2 or 3 broods each season.
This American robin’s nest is near my kitchen window, allowing us to watch her activities all summer.