lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

R is for Robin

This beautiful image of a UK robin redbreast was taken by Ross Elliott on Flikr.

Robin, Ross Elliott

The robin is my favourite British bird. They are so round and cheerful, with such a wonderfully jaunty carriage as they hop and bounce around the garden.

They tilt their heads and look straight at you with their bright, black, round eyes and you can sense their intelligence.

Robins came to be associated with Christmas in the UK because our postmen used to deliver cards dressed in cheery red, and were nicknamed ‘robins’. I wonder if blue-tits will now become the bird of choice, now our posties are in blue?

Robins are also special to us because they are known as the gardener’s friend – they will sit in company of someone digging the soil, waiting to take advantage of the disturbed worms.

They also have a beautiful, liquid song – they have been mistaken for nightingales when singing at night, kept awake by the street lights. And they even sing during the winter.

Although friendly birds and easily tameable here, in Europe they are much shyer as there they are caught in nets, or shot and eaten, or even shot for sport.

Chris Packham, the nature journalist (@ChrisGPackham) has campaigned against such practises as those in Malta, where there is an annual mass slaughter of more than 24 species of protected, migrating songbirds from 30 European countries.

Robin males are attentive partners, and will feed the female while she is sitting in the nest assiduously.

They are feisty little birds and will fight another robin to the end if it strays into their territory, causing many robin casualties – however the main reason for robin deaths are cats.

The RSPB suggests keeping cats indoors with a litter tray at night from 8pm until 8am the next morning – for the sake of all birds, at all times, but particularly in the breeding season.

Here is my robin poem:

 

Robins

.

Of all the birds,

robins are best,

with bright, round eyes

and long, slim legs,

melodious songs

and sweet moss nests;

and proving they’re

the friendliest,

they both wear red

hearts on their breast.

.

Poem © Liz Brownlee

Photo © Ross Elliott.

Information from RSPB, Onekind, ARKive.

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21 Comments

  1. What a little cutie!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our robin is bigger and is a darker grey/brown on top but the orange is still there. I had heard about the songbirds being shot for sport and even eaten. There is no meat on these little birds! I just don’t understand this. I have never heard about this until last year-sickens me

    Like

  3. Our robin pops in every morning to see what the hens are eating. I bought him some mealworms but he prefers the mixed corn. Beautiful singing voice. In Portugal, we knew families who used to keep little fledglings in drawers as children’s toys. Thoughtless but, when people are so very poor, perhaps understandable?

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  4. This is a lot more than I knew about Robins before I read your post.
    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a pretty little robin! They really are delightful birds. So sad to think of them being trapped in nets or shot for sport. We’re kind of a funny species that way, aren’t we?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a pretty little robin! The really are delightful birds–so sad to think of them being trapped in nets or shot for sport. Our species has a lot to answer for, when you think about it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. didn’t know that about the postmen fascinating Liz and lovely poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did, but had forgotten, and so put it in to keep it in my brain!

      Like

  8. I have been off and browsing here. Lovely poetry! Thanks for visiting me and doug…poodle man aka mr. Pup E. Luv….Lola is a treasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ivy. Ah, thought he was a poodle. I expect we’ll get one of those one day.

      Like

  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog. This robin photo is just spectacular. This spring I saw something very unexpected – a swarm of probably 60 robins, all inhabiting a hedge at a local mall. Our Christmas bird is the cardinal – we have a pair that lives nearly and loves our feeder and washes in our pool. I am always finding pick feathers when I swim!

    Liked by 1 person

    • How wonderful! There is a fabulous cardinal poem by a US poet called Barbara Juster Esbensen. Our robins don’t swarm, they hate each other, live in pairs and fight any others that stray into their territory. The famous American robin we know is the one in Mary Poppins, which although set in the UK, sees Mary Poppins find an American robin on the windowsill…

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      • Now that you mention it, it was an American robin – in one of my favorite movies!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. The photo is so clear, so detailed. Our robins here don’t look like your robins. Ours are a bit bigger, I think , more brown with a red chest. Here is what ours look like http://wildlifeanimalz.blogspot.com/2012/07/American-Robin.html
    I had no idea the European ones are actually endangered. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

    Like

    • Yes, yours are much bigger, actually. Ours are the size of a small songbird. I have a feeling yours are in the thrush family. I’ll go and check now and no doubt find i’m wrong! We are familiar with how they look as one was in the Mary Poppins film, quite erroneously, as it was set in London… this importation of American animals happened in 101 Dalmations as well, we don’t have raccoons, one of which was in a shed in the film!

      Like

  11. Here in WI, the American Robin is our state bird! I love that I have seen so many of them lately. Hopefully that means spring is upon us!
    TheFrogLady

    Like

  12. Great post. I have a fondness for birds!

    Liked by 1 person

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