Disappearing Robins - Magpies to blame?

Hello all! I'm relatively new to the RSPB and getting to know about birds.

We have a beautiful, nature-rich shared garden in central Edinburgh with lots of different types of birds.

There have always been a lot of robins and this spring there were more than ever and lots of gorgeous young.

They were pretty tame and gallus too.

Then the Magpies came back about the end of May (do they migrate and return - we usually have a few) and overnight the robins vanished - completely.

Now the predominant bird sounds are those of the blackbirds fighting off the magpies almost constantly through the day.

Can anyone shed any light?

Is this normal?

The magpies appear to be the aggressors but the robins never left before...

Thanks for any knowledge!

All the best, Chrissy

  • Hi,

    Got to say we have breeding robins each year and they always 'disappear', or at least appear absent during Juneish/Julyish. Funnily enough, not seen them for weeks until yesterday when two were watching me gardening. I had been outside in that area most days for half an hour or so and no sign of robins until yesterday.

    Magpies, like robins, have probably finished breeding now, so will be spreading out and away from suitable nest sites.
  • My robins are also skulking about out of sight - it's normal for this time of year and magpies and corvids in general are more obvious as they live in family groups and have naughty, noisy youngsters - hopefully they will disperse out into the the wider countryside - it's another reason not to feed through the summer months as it encourages the larger birds to move away rather than devise ways of breaking into or flying off with feeders

    Cin J

  • Hello and welcome to the forum Christina, and probably more important, you might want to consider changing your user name from your email, because content on the forum is visible to the world, and I'm sure you don't want to become victim to spam.

    I felt the same, the robin's disappearing acts, and currently here, we're only seeing juvenile robins, whereas magpies tend to stick around irrespective, nor do they migrate. Magpies are often the aggressors, not just from a territorial perspective, or food, but they too will have young and as any parent will, they also will be very protective toward their young.

    I have video somewhere of a magpie challenging a cat in our garden, so they don't hold back.

    As already said, it is normal for robins to disappear and nothing really to worry about.

    One other thing, keep watching the magpies, not from the aggression perspective, but how they look after their young, how the young play, and the young will be almost adult size now, but more fascinating, is the young will still want the parents to feed them.

    Lookout for rapid flapping of wings from the youngster when another magpie, often one of the parents, to be fed, and then the parent will place food into the open beak of the youngster.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • In reply to Mike B:

    Thank you all! This is very reassuring!
    Thanks also Mike for the tip to take off the e-mail address!

    I love all the birds in the back green and am working on my understanding of them.
    Just glad we have them.

    Lots of swifts here too - hooray!

    All the best and thanks again, Chrissy
  • In reply to ceemacdee:

    ceemacdee said:
    Thank you all! This is very reassuring!


    Thanks also Mike for the tip to take off the e-mail address!

    I love all the birds in the back green and am working on my understanding of them.
    Just glad we have them.

    Lots of swifts here too - hooray!

    All the best and thanks again, Chrissy

    You're welcome.

    We never stop learning, there is always something new to learn and discover.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • Being one of those strange birders who keep lists of everything they see I had a check back on our garden records for the past years. It seems that our Robins,we have two breeding pairs, vanish for some weeks once their brood have fledged. We have always understood that they go deep into the local woodland area to moult in safety and maybe a bit of r & r. This is a lot of our own deduction so may not be scientifically proven but it may answer your query

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Hello Chrissy, welcome to the community from up in Cairhness at the very top of Scotland. Hope you enjoy here, we are a fine bunch of folks, a bit mad at times! Always someone at hand to help with any questions. Enjoy

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.