A natural nesting aid for robins

A robin sitting on a twif
A robin sitting on a twif

A nesting aid for robins is a good way to actively support the birds in your own garden. For many hobby gardeners, the robin is their favorite gardening companion anyway: the trusting songbird often comes within a meter (three feet) of people and spies on edibles that the spade and digging fork might bring to the surface for it.

Female and male robins cannot be distinguished by their plumage, but their behavior can. Nest building, for example, is purely a female affair. The female also chooses the best place, usually on the ground in hollows, but also in hollow tree stumps, compost or haystacks. Sometimes the birds are less picky: many a robin’s nest has been discovered in mailboxes, bicycle baskets, coat pockets, watering cans or buckets.

Which nesting aid is suitable for robins?

While tits, sparrows and starlings prefer a closed nesting box with different sized entrance holes, half-cavity nesting birds such as redstarts, wagtails and robins depend on niches or crevices. A suitable, natural nesting site must therefore be semi-open for these birds. You can set up an open wooden box in the garden for robins or build them a nesting pocket made entirely of natural materials. Instructions for the latter variant can be found here.

Step by step: build your own nesting aid

  1. For the natural nesting aid for robins, first bundle a handful of old stalks, for example from maiden grass. In a next step, attach them to the side of a tree trunk in your garden facing away from the weather using a coconut rope.
  2. Then bend the stalks upwards so that a fist-sized cavity is created in the middle, which will later be the robin’s nesting hole. Finally, tie the upper stalks to the trunk as well.

Hang your nest box as high in the tree as possible. Robins have many natural enemies, such as martens. However, cats and other pets also pose a great threat to the birds.

Nesting and breeding season of robins

Robins breed once or twice a year. The nesting and breeding season lasts from April to August. On average, the birds lay between three and seven eggs per nest. While the female incubates for about two weeks, the male provides the necessary food. Feeding the young birds is done by both parents. The female also keeps the nest clean. It is interesting to observe that the young birds are raised very strictly: They only open their beaks when the parents give a special “feeding call”. The offspring of robins stay in the nest for about two weeks before they fledge.

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