Is there a more inquisitive bird than the very popular Robin? Watching you gardening or simply wandering by, the Robin seems to be a serious observer. Of course taking advantage of unearthed worms, the Robin is the ever present companion in so many gardens.
And what would Christmas be like without the Robin Redbreast adorning so many Christmas Cards? It is almost as big a part of Christmas as Mince Pies and presents.
Photo: Rita Andrews
The juvenile Robin is a speckled, brownish creature, whose plump body and black, beady eyes are the only clues to its parentage. The fledging period is fraught with danger when predatory magpies and jays take advantage of the exposed, open Robin nests. So many of the young Robins fall victim this way.
Luckily many obviously survive as when it comes to numbers the Robin is second only to the wren in the UK and it has been estimated that there are over seven million pairs in the UK. Although they have a very short lifespan compared to other species generally only living between one and two years.
Physically a Robin is smaller than a sparrow with a build somewhere between a sparrow and a warbler with uniform brown on the upper parts, an orange-red breast and a white abdomen. The eyes are black. A typical Robin is around 14 cm 95 and a half inches) long/tall and has a wingspan of around 21cm (just over 8 inches). It weighs in at 18 grams making it slightly heavier than two one pound coins.
Both the female and male have a similar silhouette making it virtually impossible for us to tell them apart. Hopefully they know who is Robin and who is Robyn!
Aside from the Robins we see in the gardens or countryside is the bird expressed through poetry and prose. Robins are seemingly more embedded in our culture than the Skylark and the Nightingale. What is more, there is a higher chance of seeing a Robin rather than a Nightingale in Berkeley Square!
Art thou the bird whom man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin...
"The Redbreast chasing the butterfly"
William Wordsworth 1806