The robin, with its signature red breast and tuneful song, is one of the UK’s best-loved birds. Often seen perched on fence posts or spade handles, these birds are far from shy and are regular visitors to British gardens. They are also fiercely territorial, guarding their patches all year round and singing loudly to proclaim their area.
Where do robins nest?
Robins are famous for nesting almost anywhere. They have been known to nest in all sorts of weird and wonderful places, including kettles, lanterns, flower pots, car bonnets, boots, post boxes and even clothes pockets.
Robins usually nest on or close to the ground, in log piles, hollows in tree trunks, hedges and any other tight spaces they come across. They favour quiet areas where they are not likely to be disturbed. Nests are built by the female robin, using grass, dead leaves and moss. The nests are often lined with hair.
When do robins nest?
Robins are one of the earliest birds to nest and can begin building as early as January if the weather is mild, although the breeding season usually begins in March. They start laying their eggs between mid-April and mid-August, with baby chicks fledging after around two weeks.
What are the signs that a robin is getting ready to nest?
If you notice any robins beginning to gather up materials like leaves and moss, chances are they are preparing to nest.
Never go looking for the busy robin's nest – they will often abandon a nest if they feel it has been discovered.
What you can do to help
There are several ways you can help these fiery little birds during the breeding season. When the time to build a nest comes around, you can:
Leave natural fibres out in your garden in an easy-to-reach area (such as a bush or hanging basket) to lend robins a helping hand with nest-building
Put a nesting box in your garden to encourage robins to nest there – just ensure it has an open front and is placed somewhere discreet, among vegetation such as creepers and shrubs
Place bird feeders in your garden so robins will have a consistent food supply at a time of the year when food can be scarce.