You might wonder why you don’t often hear the robins singing at night, and it’s primarily because they are diurnal birds. This means that robin nesting occurs at night and are out and about during the day. So, where might a robin choose to sleep, and why?
Where Do Robins Sleep At Night?
Most birds, including robins, are diurnal, meaning that they are active during the day and they rest during the night. As a result, their eyesight isn’t as good eyesight at night time, because they do most of their foraging and feeding during the day.
One of the main factors in where a robin decides to sleep is the nest’s accessibility to predators. Other birds such as crows, owls, blue jays and hawks prey on robins, both during the day and at night. Many other animals also eat robins, for example cats, dogs and foxes.
1. Bushes & Hedge Rows
The fact that they have numerous predators means that robins are quite selective about where they sleep. Robin nesting mainly occurs in bushes and shrubs overnight, because therobins can stay concealed from passing predators. They also favour hedge banks so that they can stay close to the ground while remaining hidden.
Climbing plants also present a great option for robin nesting, as they have many twists and turns that create enclosed spaces.
Trees also provide many options for robin nesting at night. They often sleep on low-hanging branches and in the nooks and crannies of tree trunks. Sleeping in trees allows them to make a quick escape if predators are nearby, as the rustling leaves alerts them.
3. Log Piles
Since robins generally prefer sleeping closer to the ground, piles of logs make a great spot. There are many enclosed spaces that shield them from the vision of birds of prey or animals on the ground.
4. Robin Nesting Boxes
Robins do often sleep in man-made robin nesting boxes too, but generally only if they are hidden in a tree or bush. When guarding a nest of hatchlings, female robins will often sleep with their babies, while the male may sleep elsewhere.
Robins will only generally sleep in open-fronted nesting boxes, and they’re quite quick to move their nesting spot if they sense that they’ve been discovered. This means that if you’re going to help them to nest in your garden, you’ll need to make sure you keep your distance.
Robins have also been known to sleep overnight in wellies left outside! They combine their need to sleep close to the ground with their inaccessibility to predators, making the perfect sleeping spot. The shape of a boot means that a robin nestingwill be concealed from above, so a hungry cat or crow would have no way of knowing they were inside.
6. The Shed
Sheds provide some warmth and are difficult (if not impossible) to access for predatory animals, making them a great sleeping option for robins at night.
7. Car Bonnet
Robins are also famous for sleeping in various weird places such as the bonnet of the car on your driveway! Residual warmth and the unreachability to predators make it an ideal spot for robin nesting overnight. Don’t worry though, they should be gone before you begin your morning commute!
8. Coat Pockets
If you leave your coat outside overnight you may find that a robin makes it their nest overnight! Like most of the other unlikely places for a robin to camp out, this makes an ideal spot because it is concealed and difficult to reach by predators such as foxes and owls.
9. Hanging Baskets
Robins are also known to be partial to a hanging basket for an overnight nesting spot. They’re out of reach of predators on the ground, and are often concealed from birds of prey by a roof.
How To Identify A Robin Nesting
The European Robin, or ‘Erithacus Rubecula’, is a bird commonly found in gardens across Europe. Robins typically have a length of between 12cm and 13 cm, with a wingspan of approximately 20cm. They typically live for up to 2 years, and although friendly towards humans, can be aggressive towards other birds.
Robins can be easily identified by their bright orange chest and throat. The rest of their body is pale brown in colour, and they generally have dark brown eyes and black bills. Young robins may appear more speckly, and very young robins will not have an orange chest yet. Male and female robins are very similar in appearance, and so are often difficult to tell apart.
Is The Robin Population In Decline?
The population of robins in the UK is considered to be relatively stable, with a report in 2020 found there to be over 4 million breeding pairs of the bird in the UK. They’re in the ‘green’ group in terms of conservation, meaning that there is no concern of the population declining at present.
While they’re friendly towards humans, they tend to be aggressive towards each other, meaning it’s unusual to see them in a group of more than two or three. This can make them seem like they’re less common in certain areas, but in reality, they tend to be solitary birds with the exception of their breeding season.
Robins unfortunately have relatively high mortality rates, with as many as 70% of robins not making it to one year old. Low temperatures, lack of food during winter and multiple predators result in many robins dying before they reach maturity.