Saturday, 23 March 2013

The pious bird with the scarlet breast

I came home early from work the other day on a beautifully sunny, warm, almost spring like day.  Opening the back door I could hear the melodious sound of a robin singing.  The song was so loud I assumed the robin was nearby however I found him sat at the very top of a tall fir tree two gardens away.  I should have known, the robin can never be said to be shy or quiet!

“The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off - and they are nearly always doing it.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden 

The song of the robin went on for some time, so long in fact that I had time to go back into the house and fetch Mr C's camera with a decent zoom.  Without knowing much about what setting I should use, I just zoomed madly, and tried not to shake too much.

The robin is a highly territorial bird, who will fight any other robin it assumes is taking over its territory.  This means you will only see the one male bird (and one female during fledging season) within a garden or three. They will sing all year round, even on the darkest winter's day - holding their territory by warning intruders with their song and their red breast.

Eventually the robin was replaced in his singing spot by a magpie, who was probably asserting his authority. 

I did find the robin in a nearby tree still singing away....

 'Art thou the bird whom Man loves best, The pious bird with the scarlet breast, Our little English Robin'. 
William Wordsworth 


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