Robins and Repeat Nesting
Date: Spring 2013
I have an American robin's nest on my patio. It was used. Last year. ShouldI I tear it down and let the birds build another or leave it and see if it will be reused?
Typically robins will not reuse the same nest from year to year. They get crumbly and aren't stable, and female robins seem to have a nesting instinct that compels them to build new nests each spring.
Although there is the possibility that the robin pair may build a new nest on top of the older nest, the old nest may harbor parasites that have survived over the winter and may be dangerous to the newborn nestlings. Therefore, it is most likely in the best interest of the robins to remove the old nest.
Robins like almost all smaller song birds, will only rarely if ever re use a nest, you can tear it down if you like. It is though against federal law to collect the nest to keep as you would not be able to prove that it was old when you collected it.
Thanks for the question. I have noticed that some birds reuse their nests. So, I would recommend leaving it to see if it will be re-used this year. I would remove the nest if it presented a hazard to your health or home, such as blocking an exhaust vent, etc.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.
What would you lose if you left it alone and wait to see if it will be reused?
If you tore it down you would never know if it would have been reused.
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Update: November 2011