A familiar sight all over Britain, the much-loved Robin is also a favourite little visitor to the Heart of England Forest. Recently crowned Britain’s first national bird after winning a nationwide vote, the Robin is closely associated with Christmas, but do you know why?
Robins pop up everywhere, from decorations to festive jumpers. However, their link with Christmas began in Victorian times, when the red postmen’s tunics were likened to the bird’s distinctive red breast. This led to the posties being nicknamed ‘robins’, and soon Robins began to appear on Christmas cards, representing the postmen making their seasonal rounds!
The Robin’s red breast is actually orange, but they were named before the word ‘orange’ existed in the English language, only appearing in the 16th century, when the fruit (and the word!) was introduced to the country.
Here are some more fascinating facts about the humble Robin:
- The best way to attract a Robin to your garden is to dig. Within minutes, they will appear to inspect the newly turned soil for tasty earthworms.
- Robins are easily recognised by their red breast and face, grey underbelly, and brown head, wings and tail.
- The Robin has a beautiful, distinctive call that can be heard all year round, although they are quieter in the late summer months
- At this time of year, they puff up their plumage to insulate themselves against cold winds.
- They are fiercely territorial over food supply. During the winter months, when food is scarce, they will happily eat from bird tables, with fatty foods such as bacon rind and cheese most popular.
- Usually, only one Robin will occupy a garden, except during the mating season.
- Robins pair up only for the breeding season (April-June). Both parents take responsibility for the young until they are two weeks old, can fly and are fully independent.
Do you have a Robin who regularly visits your garden?
It’s easy to see why Robins are Britain’s favourite feathered friend. If you have one who regularly visits your garden, why not share your pictures or stories on our Facebook page? We’d love to see them!