A couple of weeks ago, after the baby robins left their nest under our deck, E. removed the nest. Robins can breed two or three times in a season and we hoped that by removing the nest we would discourage the parents from building in the same place next time. A futile hope, as it turned out.
Robins have an uncanny homing instinct and will build over and over again in the same location if possible. Our robins had constructed their nest in the exact same spot last spring. Since E. removed this spring's nest, we've been checking daily for signs of new activity. This morning, I saw a robin with dried grass hanging from its beak and, sure enough, when I looked under the deck I could see that building had begun.
We decided to remove the nest materials immediately and to put something in the area to prevent further building there. Not that the nest itself bothered us. To the contrary, we found it fascinating to watch the eggs hatch and the chicks grow big (see my earlier post, Drama Under the Deck). But the door bashing really got to be too much. The birds were smashing into glass doors both above and below the deck, risking their own well-being and leaving a mess of bird droppings behind (see More on Robins—The Messy Side). They truly would be better off with a nest in a nearby tree, where they wouldn't fall prey to their own reflection in a pane of glass.
After clearing out the beginnings of the new nest, we found some old packing material, which we crammed into the space to make it impossible for the birds to build there again. Robins are nothing if not resourceful, though. I won't be shocked if they find some way to incorporate the foreign matter into a new nest. Or maybe they'll decide to build on an adjacent rafter. Time will tell. While I feel sad about depriving the industrious robins of their chosen nesting site, I hope they'll find an even better spot where their babies can hatch and mature in peace.