Migrating Birds and Nest Sites
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.
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.
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.
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Update: June 2012