Okay everyone, it's time to talk about a hard truth. Predators. We've been learning about what other birds and animals are dangerous for American Robins and their chicks. And unfortunately, we've got almost all of them up here in Eastern Idaho.
Magpies, crows, ravens, owls, hawks, falcons, and jays will all eat robins for food or in order to eliminate competition. While we do have all these types of birds in this part of the country, we're not too worried about them because our robins live in a very protected area. Only Stellars Jays ever come up near our house and so far we're doing a good job of keeping them fat and happy with lots of suet on the other side of our property.
Larger birds are not the only predators of the American Robin. Small mammals like raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, and bobcats also eat robins. Again, we have all these critters around here but Clementine and Abner were wise in some ways to have built their nest on our porch because all these animals are wary of people and probably won't come so close to a house. Especially a house with a big, loud dog who likes to bark when anything scurries around outside. Nothing would make it up the front steps without Taxi sounding the alarm.
But it's the number one Robin predator that has us worried...
The House Cat.
This is Buckle.
The good news is that Buckle is very old and not very smart. I mean it. We've had smart cats before and Buckle is definitely what you'd call dim. This picture was taken before the eggs hatched and, believe it or not, he has no idea the robin's nest is right there behind him in that picture. Even if he did he would've have no interest in the eggs and is too old, fat and lazy to try to get an adult robin. However, now that the babies have hatched and will soon begin chirping loudly for their food, Buckle is likely to notice and be very interested.
We've decided that there's just nothing we can do if bigger birds or wild animals go after the nest or the babies, but we can do something about Buckle.
Poor, old Buckle is now house-bound. We've close off the cat door in the basement and moved the litterbox back in side (shudder). Buckle will only be allowed out during the day if we are down in the front yard below to keep a close eye on him. We'll also be putting up a barrier at the bottom of the stairs as a deterrent just in case he gets sneaky while our backs are turned.
And don't think the robins are helpless creatures either. They defend themselves from any attack by sending alarm calls when predators come near. If there are other neighboring robins (and there are lots around here), the other robins will come to help. They'll work together to mob the predator or help each other escape. Huck's friend Owen has a cat and a robin's nest at his house too and the mommy and daddy robin worked as a team diving at their cat until he ran away.
Still, we'll do what we can to help out. The chicks will take about 13 days to mature so it won't be too hard on Buckle and he'll get lots of extra cuddles and treats to make up for it.