Why would a robin abandon her nest after laying her eggs?

Asked May 1, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

For the past two years, we have had a robin build a nest on top of our porch light. We try our best not to disturb the robin, although the nest is right by our front door. We do not linger on the porch and go into and out of the house quickly so we do not frighten her. Each year, she has built the nest, and apparently lays her eggs on it because we have seen her sitting on the nest for four or five days. But after a few days, no longer than a week, this year and last year, the robin abandoned the nest and did not come back. Why would she do this? The porch light comes on at night automatically when a car goes by or when a person approaches the house. It goes off after a minute or two. Would this light be too warm for the robin and thus, she leaves the nest? We were looking forward to baby robins and are disappointed that apparently the nest is abandoned and the eggs will not hatch. We are not home during the day, but as far as we know, no other birds or squirrels have gotten into the nest and disturbed it. So, I guess my main question is, how can we get Mother Robin to stay with us and hatch her eggs?

Fairfax County Virginia

1 Response

How sad. Well, sadly, it is most likely all of the disturbance that causes your mother robin to abandon her nest. The fact that the light comes on at all can be enough of a disturbance for her. Sometimes, it is just your activity into and out of the house. In future years, I would do 1 of 2 things: put a deterrent on the porch light so that she chooses a better location for her nest. Hopefully, this will be in a more secluded location like a tree in your yard. Second, you could disconnect your automatic light for the duration of the breeding period once you see the nest is occupied again.