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How Long Does a Robin Live

Does the same robin nest in your yard, year after year? Probably not...
© Tom Grey View Large

The mortality rate is high in our familiar songbirds. For robins, it's around 50% each year once young birds have fledged. If a robin survives to midwinter, it lives an average of 1.7 years after that. The oldest robins in your yard might be about six years old, although one banded bird lived almost 14 years. Robins don't maintain their pair bonds over the winter, so they mate anew each spring. But if the same male and female return to the same territory, they are very likely to mate again.

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Full Transcript

How Long Does a Robin Live?

Written by Dennis Paulson

This is BirdNote.
[American Robin singing and definite spring ambient]
 Let’s assume for a moment that you have a yard that a pair of robins has nested in for 12 years. You may be surprised to learn that it hasn’t always been the same pair! Mortality rate is high in our familiar songbirds. For robins, it’s around 50% each year once young birds have fledged.
 If a robin survives to midwinter, it lives an average of 1.7 years after that. The oldest robins in your yard might be about six years old, although one banded bird lived almost 14 years. [sounds of winter wind ]
 So in a dozen years you've probably had at least a half-dozen robins of each sex involved in nesting. [Different song of robin and calls]
 Robins and most other migratory birds don't maintain their pair bonds over the winter, so they mate anew each spring. But if the same male and female return to the same territory, they are very likely to mate again.
 If the male has died, another male will likely take over the territory, and the living female may mate with him. Similarly, if the female has died, a new female will mate with the resident male. They may nest in the same shrub, if it's a favorable nesting spot, and to our eyes it looks as if the same pair of robins has returned. [More robin song]
 To learn more, come to I’m Mary McCann.

Call of the American Robin provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song recorded by W.L. Hershberger. Call by R.S. Little.
Ambient recording by Kessler Productions.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to      March 2014

ID# AMRO-10         AMRO-10-2010-03-23-MM


comments 6Show

I raised a robin 3 years ago that my neibor found in her yard,I taught him everything and when he came back in Spring I found out it was female. She did not land on my head or chest when she saw me but did a lot of loving chirping.She built her nest in the mock cherry tree in my yard,but when a storm took it down and the babies were dumped into the soaking wet grass, I brought them in and got them dry, dried the nest put it in a hanging basket inside the tree,she raised her brood and hung around for raisins every morning. She is so much smaller than the other females, I guess because her mother did get to feed her,because I remember when I picked those babies out of the wet grass they felt like little lead weights,solid protein. Her name is Romeo,and she will e back this year if she is still alive.

Marjorie McEntee

I have a pet robin and it can mock almost any sound it hears like the phone

I have a make robin as a "pet" and he is always out of his cage around the house, so smart, so friendly and so cuddly. He is 9 years old this summer. He was rescued at a school after the nest was run over by a lawn mower, killing all the birds, except one baby. I raised him, and he never left. He lives in the house now and is my little buddy. Anyone can contact me at

I found a baby robin in my parking lot so we took it in, it's been a week now since we got him or her. The first day he was very scared of us. Slept all day. Didn't like when we touched him, and now one week later the second we open the cage we have him in (rabbit cage) he flies onto our hand then jumps up to the shoulder, then to on top of my head. he will sit there for as long as I let him. it's adorable. If I hold him in my hands he falls asleep within a minute and will stay sleeping for more than an hour. He's very quiet but gets very excited when he sees me and starts chirping a lot until I go over and give him attention, and again he will hop up onto my body. He can only fly up to about a foot or two right now, but we are still working on the flying thing. I went for a walk today and went to put him back in his cage and he wouldn't hop off my finger, so I let him stay on my finger as I walked a mile around the neighborhood. He;s so happy. Such a good bird, I love him.

I had a Robin build a nest on my porch. She was such a good mother, she tended yto her nest and cared so much for her little ones while she had them. Two days after they were born, a cat got the mother. I woke up that morning at 5am and felt like I just needed to go check on them. When I did I found them hard/cold and only one had slight heartbeat. I looked for the mother but it was obvious she was gone and had not been back to the nest in some while. I felt hopeless and then something spoke to me to get a hairdryer. So I brought them in and immediately started blowing the warm air on them, being very careful not to burn them in the process. I picked them up one by one and kept rubbing them and warming them up till they finally started to breathe again and slightly move. I done this for three hours straight until one of them just vomited this huge ball of green bile from its stomach. I cleared that away and they begin to start moving good and reaching their little necks up as in wanting their mother to feed them. I thought for a few minutes and then went to the kitchen and mixed up some baby oatmeal with applesauce and put in a dropper and fed to them. They actually all survived their terrible misfortunes! I raised them all. Ones name was Beamer, the other Huey and the runt was named Thanks to my granddaughter but that is the name she wanted and so it was! I couldnt think of calling her anything else at this point. When they got bigger we started feeding them apples and raisins and mealworms and redworms and even some night crawlers too! I give them vitamins and such and we even started taking them outside and allowing them to fly and be free. Pooper however was not like Beamer and Huey. They were males and wanted to be out more than her. She would always hang right on us and when ppl came over she wanted to be around them and visit and be loved. she would even walk in the garage just looking for us for attention. Beamer eventually left to be with the other Robins and I have only seen him a couple of times in the past few weeks. Huey was actually flying over to us with grass and twigs in his mouth as in to show us that he was building a nest. He took up with a pretty lil female and his nest is right outside infront of our home in a huge tree where he can watch us. He comes around and shows us he is still here and we throw him out treats. Pooper however does not want to be outside. Of the evening she would always fly back to her cage and climb in and holler for us to bring her in. So we now keep her in the home and she loves her huge cage. We get her out every several times a day. I have special lil places all over the house where he can perch and not make a mess on anything! She is truly spoiled rotten!!! She is a true blessing in our lives and I thank God that he gave the strength and know how to bring these birds back to life! I would not trade her for nothing. money could not buy her. She is just like one of my children. i would be truly devastated if anything ever happen to her. She sings and mocks sounds and things. We can see a nat flying and tell her to get it and she will run and catch it as if its a game we are playing! She loves for us to play with her. She runs us down being feisty and playing. She is beautiful and a true blessing in my life! I never thought in a million years I would ever have a pet Robin!!!

hello i loved your story of the way you gave them a home for life, God has blessed you .


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