Where do Robins Nest?

Robins are one of the most popular garden birds in the UK.

This might be because of their easily recognisable redbreast, their beautiful song, or because they are just so friendly. They will happily watch you pottering around your garden hoping to pick up scraps that you leave behind.

But have you ever wondered where robins sleep at night? Do they even sleep after dark or do they prefer to forage for food when it is quiet and there are fewer predators around?

I decided to dig a little deeper and find out.

Robins are a diurnal bird, this means that they are active during daylight and rest after dark. Although they have very keen eyesight it isn’t well-adapted to the darkness. They prefer to do their foraging during the day.

It’s difficult to estimate just how much sleep they actually get, but what we do know is, they prefer to rest in secluded, sheltered places away from predators.

Robins build their nests low to the ground in shrubs, climbers, and hedges. Contrary to popular belief, unless there are eggs or babies in there, they don’t sleep in them.

Robin’s Favourite Sleeping Spots

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed but robins love the limelight. At dusk, they often settle around street lights and sing a chorus or two. This signals winding down and preparing to find a safe spot in which to sleep.

All that the robin needs to get rest is somewhere safe to shelter from the elements and any predators. This could be numerous places including in shrubbery, bushes, and on the lower branches of trees. They prefer to keep tucked away close to the trunk as this is the warmest place. Shaking twigs and leaves alert the robin to any oncoming predator and enables them to make a swift escape.

They are bright little creatures and keep their wits about them when on the search for a resting place. Windowsills, eaves of disused buildings, and log piles with crevices are great spots. They have even been known to rest beneath the bonnet of agricultural vehicles, hanging baskets, and in random wellies!

Will a Robin Use a Nesting Box

Many garden birds will take advantage of boxes placed around your garden. Most prefer them to be higher up in trees, away from cats and foxes. Small entrance holes are ideal to ensure the birds can come and go, but larger birds and other predators can’t fit in to steal their young.

The robin may use a nesting box but you should think carefully about its placement. Hidden amongst a climbing plant or large shrub is the ideal position.

Instead of a small hole, the robin prefers an open-fronted box, with easy access and room for a clutch of 4-6 large eggs.

This may encourage a mating couple to raise their brood, and either the male or female will sleep in the box with the babies.

Once the fledgelings fly away, the box becomes redundant, until the same time next year.


Robins are constantly on the lookout for food; worms, invertebrates, fruit, and seeds. If they have collected all they possibly can and there is simply nothing else to do, they may settle for a ‘cat-nap’!

Again, this is a few minutes of seclusion hidden away from predators.

Now that you know where robins sleep at night it might be easier to spot them sneaking out of their slumber at dawn and making a beeline for your feeding station.

16 thoughts on “Where do Robins Nest?”

  1. Hi Walter

    We have had a robin visiting most days over many weeks but as of the last week no sign of him ……. would welcome any thoughts as to why no sightings .

    E Cantello

    • Hello,
      It may be due to the weather, but most likely it may be because the Robin may be sitting on some eggs. Hopefully give it a couple of weeks and if you see your Robin again he may be getting food for the chicks.


  2. Hi Walter,
    I was moving some branches that I had cut and placed by my rear garden gate with the intention of taking them up the local dump. Underneath was also a large plastic plant pot, when it started removing the branches I noticed a nest in the plant pot with 4 eggs, I cover the pot back up with new branches and left it. I have seen 2 robin’s near the clump of branches..will they go back to the nest?

    • Hi Julian,
      If you try to put the branches back how they were roughly and leave the nest accessible but with enough cover so it can’t be seen very easily, the Robins should hopefully return to it.
      They do leave the nest occasionally to feed which is why it may have been empty, the two Robins should hopefully find their way back onto the eggs.


  3. I have baby robin bird and it’s mom never came to feed it or warmth it, we gave it a small meal worm it past 3 weeks and the bird was fine, but today it didn’t want to eat it is already the whole day and it still doesn’t want to eat and I noticed that the baby bird of 3 weeks breaths a little faster, sometimes with it’s mouth breath open, so what can I do to help the baby robin, can you give me advice to help the little bird.

    • I would contact the RSPCA if in the UK or someone that may be able to help, I am not really qualified to give such advice I am afraid but I would love to have helped.

      Make sure it has access to food and fresh water though.

  4. Interesting,but I have a young robin that comes to me several times a day to feed, keep in a bird cage in the house at night,big breakfast then out to the trees.Starting to find food on its own, hopefully it will learn to feed its self soon and will go to be a wild animal again.

  5. Hi Walter.
    Weve recently noticed a robin in our garden after dark and even as late as 10pm in December. Is this normal behaviour for a robin. This particular one seems very friendly and almost inquisitive. It flits through the open fencing and even comes up to our patio where we currently have our Christmas tree.

  6. Hello Walter,
    We have a robin pair that is around which we sometimes see but hear everyday but I never lands in our garden…We have a bird table that is positioned in the correct place (well I think it is as I have done a lot of research) which we put meal worms on (the blackbirds love them!) but they don’t ever land in our garden…? I am really keen to tame a robin and have specially bought meal worms, currents etc. to tempt them. We have a fairly quiet garden…we don’t have pets and other birds love it…

    Please could you help in this reply?

    • I would try putting up some feeders with a good quality mixed seed in to try and encourage the Robins.

      They may not like your bird table, I have one and it is rarely used by the birds who often flock to the hanging feeders and ignore the table which tends to be used by the larger birds like Blackbirds or the occasional Pigeon.

  7. Hi I have a pair of Robins that come into my garden all the time they have had one clutch of eggs which successfully hatched and then magpies ate the babies. Since then the pair are still in my garden and are courtship feeding will they nest in my garden again or will they go somewhere else. I have also protected the original box from magpies and put an additional box in do you think they will use any of them

    • Hello, Yes they may try again, well done for protecting the box, best now to leave things be and see what happens

  8. I currently have a male robin nicking in and out of our wall mounted hose reel box!! Often with bits of moss or other nest making material. No sign of the female, I’m in central Scotland is she likely to have already laid eggs? I have a feeder with peanuts and pin oatmeal in it anything else I should put in for them? Jane

  9. Hi a pair of robins has nested in my greenhouse. This evening when I was out between 7.15-8.30 two or three fledglings made their way out of the nest. Is it usual for them to fledge this late in the day? And how long do they stay on the ground? I’m hoping they will sleep under the bushes tonight and mum and dad will be back tomorrow to help feed them. Praying they’re not taken by corvids before they can fly.

  10. Hi
    I have taken in a stunned Robin for the night after it was hit by a car. The bird seems fine now so I’m hoping I can release in the morning. Can I release it from my home or do I need to take it back to where it was found?


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