YOUNG ROBINS FEEDING OLDER ROBINS

Hello everyone,

 I have a couple of Robins  in my back garden, who come down to breakfast everymoring. One is a very good looking younger robin and one looks llike  a rather tatty older robin, with a slightly balding head and only one tail feather...poor boy.  All through the winter the younger Robin has been feeding the older one, which I found a bit strange. The older one acts like a chick and the younger one consequently feeds it. Is this normal?

  • Hello Hilary, welcome to the forum. I suspect that what you have witnessed is in fact courtship feeding. The younger looking Robin might well be a first year male and the older bird a female who has possibly returned from Winter migration. My Robins are currently doing the same thing. Little HTR (the male) is a first year Robin and his mate is at least a year older. Hopefully your pair will provide you with some offspring in a month or so.

    Check out this link for some photos

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)

     

  • In reply to monkeycheese:

    Thanks so much Monkeycheese, very interesting! And may I commend you on your fab user name!
  • In reply to Hilary Tilmouth:

    Advice please!
    I have two pairs of Robins nesting only 2-metres from each other in an Ivy on a Garage Wall. I have confirmed it is two females & two males and they seem to be concentrating on themselves and not fighting for territory but surely it can only be a matter of time when they clash & one, or both nests fail? - Keith Barnard (Ickenham, Middlesex).
    Anything I can do, or let nature take it's course?
  • Hi Keith, just let them do their thing. It is very interesting to hear that the nests are in such close proximity to one another. They might well concentrate on the success of their broods and therefore not have any territorial issues, especially if they both have active nests. Have you managed to get any photos or video footage of them? That would be fascinating. If they both have successful broods at the same time, that would be even more interesting. Robins, unlike Gulls for example, do not recognise their own young as distinct from those of another pair as they have a territory that would mean they would not usually encounter the young of another pair. If these two are so close, they could conceivably feed one another's offspring. Fascinating possibilities.

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)

     

  • In reply to monkeycheese:

    Thank you for the advice.
    Observing today for a couple of hours it seems like the dominant pair (who they, or their offspring), return to the Ivy Wall every year, are in the ascendancy and are very active!
    The other pair, who appear young and inexperienced have shown no activity today at all. I think they may have abandoned the new nest however, there is Robin activity in a deep Yew Bush which is 50-metres from the Ivy and may well be the young couple re-locating?
    However, this may be a problem as there are a pair of Song-Thrushes going in and out of the same Bush so, who knows?
    Thank you, Keith Barnard