Polk County Conservation

Robin Nesting

  • I’ve noticed that robins are back and had a few questions. Do they return to the same yard every year? If so, do they reuse the same nest every year? I removed a robin nest from my tree last fall and am now wondering if they would have reused the nest?

    American robins may return to the same general area but not necessarily the same yard. Male robins start to arrive in Iowa in March to set up their territories. Males will sing heartily to advertise their presence and will physically attack other males in their territory. Females arrive a few weeks later to choose a mate. The pair forms a bond that lasts throughout the summer.

    A female robin will build a nest out of mud and grasses with occasional help from the male. Robins lay two different clutches of eggs during the summer. They will reuse the same nest during the summer, but will not reuse the same nest the following year. Some abandoned bird nests may be used by other types of birds.

    You also bring up an important point to address. All migratory birds as well as their eggs, feathers, and nests are protected by federal law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This means you can not harm or possess migratory birds, eggs, feathers, or nests. So please do not remove bird nests from your yard!

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    Administration Office
    12130 NW 128th St
    Granger, IA 50109

    P: (515) 323-5300
    F: (515) 323-5354

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