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.
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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.