One of the first signs of spring are orange-breasted robins decorating yards and parks searching out bits of grass and twigs to make their nests. Unfortunately, their pale blue eggs in clutches of three and four are a welcome sight to several predators. Parents must watch their eggs at all times, but even then they are no match for the marauders that eat them.
The eastern gray, fox, flying and red are all species of squirrels who will raid a robin’s nest to take the eggs. These furry rodents don’t usually seek out a robin nest, but if they happen across one, they know exactly how to break an egg open and eat the contents. Squirrels don’t normally care what type of an egg it is, and whether robin or sparrow, they will happily make a meal of any eggs from a songbird nest.
Crows and Blue Jays
The crow and blue jay are only two of the flying predators that will ransack a robin nest for eggs. These birds belong to the family of corvids. These are very smart and opportunistic birds. Many people believe that when a family of crows moves into the area, most other bird populations will suffer or leave. Studies show that this is not the case. Crows and blue jays will eat both the eggs of the robin as well as the young, but a robin will nest and lay eggs more than once during a season. In most cases, some of the eggs will hatch, and the young robins will grow into adults.
Snakes will not even bother cracking a robin egg to eat it. They just swallow it whole. The common egg-eater is one species of snake that feeds only on bird eggs, and the robin egg is no exception. Rat snakes are another species of snake that will clean out a robin nest for a meal. Many other species of snakes will feed on robin eggs. Some species may seek out the bird eggs, and others will just eat them if they happen across their path.
Raccoons are omnivorous. They will eat fruits, vegetables and meats. These intelligent mammals love eggs. A raccoon can climb very well and will not only eat a robin egg, but young nestlings as well. A raccoon will hold the egg with his paws and crack it open with his teeth. A raccoon will also clean a robin nest of all the eggs if the opportunity is there.
Loren Estes became a licensed wildlife rehabilitation professional for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1998. She cares for wildlife native to Kentucky. In her spare time, Estes also lectures and volunteers for various nonprofit organizations involved in animal care and adoption.