Monday 13 November
It is a still morning, about 12 degrees Celsius and the birds were feeding in groups this morning. It was like one happy family with Robins, Sparrows and Tits feeding together. There was even a young Magpie in the mix.
This time of year with Robins featuring in Christmas Ads and cards, I thought I would write a little about Robins and feature my friend Maxwell, the Father Robin who lives and loves in my Beech Hedge. He and his wife Maisie have returned each Winter for a number of years.
Robins were originally a woodland bird but are now very comfortable in suburbs like my garden. They perch on the wheelbarrow or close to where you are digging not because they are particularly friendly but because they are partial to a worm or two. They nest in discarded buckets or pots and their red breast is a reminder of the blood of Christ at Christmas time.
All birds are territorial but the Robin is particularly so. A dispute starts with males singing at each other, trying to get to a higher position on a tree or wall to show off their breast most effectively. This usually ends the challenge, with one giving in to the other. Sometimes a fight breaks out which can result in death. For this reason, Robins are born without a red breast, and don’t acquire it until their first coat is shed.
They have three to five families a year and about five eggs at a time usually from March through to Winter. They are often seen and heard singing at night under lamp light. They are a pretty and courageous little bird, determined to defend their patch to the bitter end, literally.