The North American robin will commonly choose a nesting site that is inconvenient to the humans it shares the environment with. Common nesting sites include the top of light fixtures, in ornamental hedges, between deck hardware and in trees close to your home. Robins are typically harmless, but during nesting season can become very territorial and aggressive to perceived intruders. Songbirds, such as the North American robin, are protected by federal law, including their nest with eggs or chicks. If robins have become a nuisance, there are a few things you can do to protect your property.
Things You'll Need
- Long-handled garden tool
- Plastic garbage bag
Inspect the nest. If the nest contains eggs, wait for the eggs to hatch and the chicks to fledge before removing the empty nest. Robin eggs incubate for approximately two weeks. Then it takes another two weeks for the babies to leave the nest. Typically, robins will not reuse their nest.
Watch for signs of nest construction. Be observant; if you see robins starting to construct a nest in a location that is not appropriate, remove the nest while it's under construction, before eggs have been laid. Since these birds are protected by law, prevention is the best course of action.
Remove the abandoned nest. Use caution; robins are carriers of mites that can be transmitted to a human host and are difficult to get rid of. Use a long-handled garden tool to knock down the empty nest. Pick it up with a shovel or a garbage bag that has been turned inside out to avoid direct contact with the nest.
Dispose of the removed nest in the trash.
Wash your hands with, hot soapy water as an added precaution.
Tips & Warnings
- If you encounter baby birds on the ground that appear to have trouble flying, leave them where they are. This is part of the fledging process.
- Wear gloves and a respirator if you are cleaning an accumulation of bird droppings. They can be a carrier of histoplasmosis, a spore that can cause severe respiratory problems if inhaled.
- East Tennesse Wildlife Rehabilitation Council: Found Songbirds
- Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin: All Songbirds Are Protected
- University of Illinois Extension: Ask Extension: Aggressive Male Robin Nest
- Illinois Department of Public Health: Prevention & Control: Bird Exclusion and Dispersal
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images