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  #1  
Old 04-21-2009, 02:44 PM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is offline
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Springtime means robin nests on the porch

At least at our house it does. Every spring, one particular column of the front porch sprouts grass and twigs. Nest making is a pretty cool process -- it's also a very messy one.

When we moved in a few years ago, my wife and I didn't mind so much. The daughter was 4 years old and it was kind of neat showing her the miracle of life. So that was kind of cool.

A month or so later, those robins grew up and the family left the nest. It was then taken over by another robin that had a penchant for dive bombing anyone who got too close. Me, my family, the neighbors, the mailman... we all found ourselves in its sights and I can't tell you the frustration of shaking my fist in impotent rage at a robin. A robin!

Yet there I was, shaking frantically yelling things like "I'm bigger than you!" and "I have opposable thumbs!" at a bird. A bird. Of course that did not deter this mad creature.

So I knocked the nest down that fall. When the first robin returned the next spring and began building a new one, I knocked that construction job down as well and swept all the grass and building material away.

It's spring again (at least sometimes it feels like it) and the bird is making the nest once more and I am knocking it down once more. Seriously, I like bird nests, what's wrong with making it in a tree though?

So my questions are:

1. Is this robin ever going to figure out that it should just build somewhere else?

2. Am I "damaging" this bird's spring ritual if it can't build its nest on the column of my front porch and will it just refuse to build a nest and lay eggs anywhere else?
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2009, 04:05 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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If you're in the U.K., it's an offence to knock down a nest that has eggs in it.
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  #3  
Old 04-21-2009, 05:37 PM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is offline
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I'm in the US and I wouldn't do that.

I knocked down abandoned nests and nests that are in the process of being constructed.
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  #4  
Old 04-21-2009, 06:23 PM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Yes, you are damaging its spring ritual, if the female from that pair is ready to lay, and the nest isn't complete she will lay still borns on the forest floor. I've seen this behavior before. It will eventually stop their life spans are only 5-7 yrs I think. Its very odd and counter intuitive, but birds get used to building in one area. Colibri might be by to correct everything I've said we'll see.

Maybe direct people to another door, if you have one and let her do her thing for a month?
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  #5  
Old 04-21-2009, 06:36 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Is there a way to prevent the birds from reaching that spot? Maybe try putting chicken wire over the space they're building the nest in?

Last edited by dracoi; 04-21-2009 at 06:36 PM..
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  #6  
Old 04-21-2009, 06:52 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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The best thing to do is put up some chicken wire or other obstacle to make that site unsuitable. If you keep removing the nest, they will eventually get the idea, but it may take longer than if you just block them.

If they have to seek out another nest site, it may delay their schedule a little, but it shouldn't be any big deal. They will just build a nest somewhere else.
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  #7  
Old 04-21-2009, 09:35 PM
Chief Pedant Chief Pedant is offline
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Originally Posted by Phlosphr View Post
Yes, you are damaging its spring ritual, if the female from that pair is ready to lay, and the nest isn't complete she will lay still borns on the forest floor.
I coulda sworn robins lay eggs...

Show your wife that great Mother Goose and Grimm cartoon:

Mother Goose: "Oh, Look, Grimmy! The first robin of spring."

Grimmy: "Great!! You get the grill and I'll go get the charcoal."

C'mon...are you an Intergalactic Gladiator or are you not?...time to show the 8 y/o daughter nature red in tooth and claw. I say plug 'em. Darwin and all that.
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  #8  
Old 04-21-2009, 10:03 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intergalactic Gladiator View Post
At least at our house it does. Every spring, one particular column of the front porch sprouts grass and twigs. Nest making is a pretty cool process -- it's also a very messy one.

When we moved in a few years ago, my wife and I didn't mind so much. The daughter was 4 years old and it was kind of neat showing her the miracle of life. So that was kind of cool.

A month or so later, those robins grew up and the family left the nest. It was then taken over by another robin that had a penchant for dive bombing anyone who got too close. Me, my family, the neighbors, the mailman... we all found ourselves in its sights and I can't tell you the frustration of shaking my fist in impotent rage at a robin. A robin!

Yet there I was, shaking frantically yelling things like "I'm bigger than you!" and "I have opposable thumbs!" at a bird. A bird. Of course that did not deter this mad creature.

So I knocked the nest down that fall. When the first robin returned the next spring and began building a new one, I knocked that construction job down as well and swept all the grass and building material away.

It's spring again (at least sometimes it feels like it) and the bird is making the nest once more and I am knocking it down once more. Seriously, I like bird nests, what's wrong with making it in a tree though?

So my questions are:

1. Is this robin ever going to figure out that it should just build somewhere else?

2. Am I "damaging" this bird's spring ritual if it can't build its nest on the column of my front porch and will it just refuse to build a nest and lay eggs anywhere else?
It's a small detail, but it bothers me. This does not sound like Robin behavior. Are you sure it is Robins? Sounds like barn swallows to me.
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  #9  
Old 04-22-2009, 09:04 AM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is offline
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Originally Posted by Chief Pedant View Post
C'mon...are you an Intergalactic Gladiator or are you not?...time to show the 8 y/o daughter nature red in tooth and claw. I say plug 'em. Darwin and all that.
I'll consider that. Also, a good hunter eats what he kills.

Remember that the next time you swat a fly.
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  #10  
Old 04-22-2009, 09:05 AM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is offline
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Originally Posted by ghardester View Post
It's a small detail, but it bothers me. This does not sound like Robin behavior. Are you sure it is Robins? Sounds like barn swallows to me.
I'm pretty sure they're robins. I live in Chicago in the city and we have plenty of robins in the area but no barn swallows.
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  #11  
Old 04-22-2009, 10:50 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I also live in Chicago, have you noticed a big increase in robins in the last few years? In my part of Chicago, not only do we have a lot more, we have a lot of robins that don't fly South either.

I found that robins can be stupid. When I was a kid, we had a tree and it had a weird branch that was about 3 feet off the ground. The rest of the tree didn't start to branch out till it was really tall.

Anyway this dumb robin built it's nest in the tree in the LOW branch right by the ground. In the robin's defense it was by the garden with lots of bugs and earthworms. But we had a cat AND dog who could easily reach the nest.

My mum was like "If the robin was stupid enough to build the nest there, let the robin DEAL with the cat and dog." Well being a kid the thought of the baby robins getting eaten was horrifying so I guarded the nest for a month from the cat and dog. But the robin was VERY aggressive toward me and the dog and cat. The next year the stupid robin (or one like it) built its nest in the same place. Again I took up guard duty.

Then the third year Mrs Robin started building her nest AGAIN in that spot, by this time the novelty wore off so I kept knocking the nest down. She got the idea and went away. Then I sawed off the low branch.

Robins can be aggressive when it comes to nests.
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  #12  
Old 04-22-2009, 10:51 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I also live in Chicago, have you noticed a big increase in robins in the last few years? In my part of Chicago, not only do we have a lot more, we have a lot of robins that don't fly South either.

I found that robins can be stupid. When I was a kid, we had a tree and it had a weird branch that was about 3 feet off the ground. The rest of the tree didn't start to branch out till it was really tall.

Anyway this dumb robin built it's nest in the tree in the LOW branch right by the ground. In the robin's defense it was by the garden with lots of bugs and earthworms. But we had a cat AND dog who could easily reach the nest.

My mum was like "If the robin was stupid enough to build the nest there, let the robin DEAL with the cat and dog." Well being a kid the thought of the baby robins getting eaten was horrifying so I guarded the nest for a month from the cat and dog. But the robin was VERY aggressive toward me and the dog and cat. The next year the stupid robin (or one like it) built its nest in the same place. Again I took up guard duty.

Then the third year Mrs Robin started building her nest AGAIN in that spot, by this time the novelty wore off so I kept knocking the nest down. She got the idea and went away. Then I sawed off the low branch.

Robins can be aggressive when it comes to nests.
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  #13  
Old 04-22-2009, 11:58 AM
Solfy Solfy is offline
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Robins can be aggressive in general. My parents had a crazy robin two years in a row that would not stop dive-bombing its reflection their storm door. It bludgeoned itself repeatedly, day after day, at what it thought was a rival male. In searching for a solution (none of which worked), we learned that it's not uncommon behavior. He gave up after several weeks, but came back the next year for a few weeks. It made a mess of the storm door.

As for the repeat nesting, we've had luck with strategically placed empty coffee cans, as well as one strong bird capable of moving empty coffee cans.
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  #14  
Old 04-22-2009, 01:00 PM
bobot bobot is offline
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South of Chicago here. Used the deck last weekend for the first time this spring. Moved a chair, and found a nest. (My dog must not be as smart as I thought she was!) I moved it to the top of a fencepost, where it still sits. There were no eggs in it, and I haven't seen birds using it .
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  #15  
Old 04-22-2009, 01:22 PM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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I had this happen last year. I came home to find a bird making a nest in the wreath on my porch. I took the nest down, but in 10 minutes the bird was back to making another nest.

I then took the wreath down.

I'm glad to hear that I did not permanently disrupt the bird's breeding cycle.
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