Baby robin rescue - advice needed

Buffalo, NY(Zone 5b)

Robins were nesting in a small tree next to my entrance (upstate New York area) and yesterday I discovered a small baby robin on the ground. It was a nestling hardly 3-4 days old and it was motionless but breathing. When we put it back in the nest there was no other baby there nor on the ground. The parent came back in 10 minutes only and slightly later was already feeding it. Then a few hours later the same baby fell again on the ground with some stray cat coming near. I didn't see any injuries from the cat so I assume I intercepted it on time. I was still disheartened because the baby wasn't breathing and frankly showed no signs of life, but it was warm and we again put it back in the nest. I saw the parent again nesting on it but not this morning. This hit me really hard and I have two questions.

- what could be the reasons that there was only one robin baby in the nest (hardly 3-4 days old)? I read that usually there are at least two baby robins.

- what could explain that it fell from the nest even twice the same day? Do other robins attack other robin's babies or nests? It couldn't jump alone because it doesn't have developed wings, no cat could reach the nest because it's quite high, and we didn't see any crow or bluejay in the vicinity today. The nest was in excellent shape without any signs of disturbance.

Please help with any advice so that I know for the future or, if this little one turns out to be still live despite the second fall, then to know how to help its parent to protect it.

(Zone 5a)

You did the right thing in getting the baby back into the nest. Try not to feel bad about the bird, though I know it is hard. We grieve for the little birds that do not make it, but there are many cases when we rejoice at a successful fledging.

Predator birds can be sneaky when they want to be, so we cannot dismiss crows or jays, or even a snake, maybe a Cooper's or Sharp-shinned Hawk. At times parents will push young out of the nest if something is wrong with them and it is best for that to happen when they are really young. Mites can bother young birds so badly that they will hop out of the nest to get away from them. Were there any feathers on the bird?

You cannot protect the little ones from all predators, but you can use deterrents to keep cats out of your yard. We use orange essential oil mixed with water and sprayed around areas they can hide in. As much as we'd like, we cannot keep them off our property as it is too large. We do not encourage them to stay here if we do see any.

Buffalo, NY(Zone 5b)

Chillybean, thank you very much. There were only some feathers on this baby and very smallish wings, but not fully developed. The eyes were still closed. My guess is that it was less than one week old.

I will use orange EO to keep cats away because robins seem to like my house and I love robins. I've just recovered from witnessing a crow grabbing another baby robin from a different nest that was on my trellis. It was a month ago. But it was only one parent taking care of it and often absent. This time both parents were very vigilant about it and I had so much hope... We live in the city and the wildlife is very limited. Sadly the nest is abandoned today so it seems that the little one didn't make it this second time.

This message was edited Jul 4, 2016 12:36 PM

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