Through the Lens with Leon Lorenz

Nesting American Robins

Leon Lorenz
Nesting American Robins

Here are some interesting facts on nesting American robins. The mother robin builds her nest and usually will lay four eggs, one each day. She will lay each egg around mid morning after several hours of feeding on earthworms. She won't start incubating the eggs until all the eggs are laid. Only occasionally will the male help incubate the eggs, however his main job at this time is to respond immediately if the female gives a call of distress. The eggs hatch after 12 to 14 days. Even during good weather she rarely leaves her eggs for more than five to 10 minutes at a time. Hatching out isn't easy for a chick. First it breaks a hole with its egg tooth, which is a hard hook on the beak, then it struggles between short periods of rest to break apart the shell. It enters the world naked, wet, blind and hungry. They will keep both parents very busy for about two weeks until they leave the nest. Note here that the parent robin brings the first food that's appropriate in size for the tiny birds to swallow. The babies grow rapidly and soon they are able to handle a beak full of earthworms. The parent robins will continue to feed the youngsters until they can manage on their own. Robins will often start a second family in the same nest a week or two later. 

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