The Cottage Smallholder

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Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

robin in spring

I’m fond of the robins that live in our garden. When our bird feeders are empty, one robin will swoop in a zig zag motion in front of me. He gets my attention and accompanies me down the garden to the feed bin. He waits on a twig as I fill the jugs with wild bird seed. If I leave the lid open and go to give the chickens their morning treat (deluxe parrot seeds) the robin flutters down to steal some too.

He also flies out to join me on the journey to the feeders at the front of the house, although he flies over the roof and I tramp through the kitchen. Once the first feeder is filled, he ignores me and starts tucking in immediately.

There is always a robin around when I’m digging, primed to swoop in and gobble up the worms and insects that I have uncovered. Today I was busy planting our onion sets, weeding Danny’s herb bath and bunging in some flat leaf parsley plantlets in the gaps. A lot of his parsley as survived the winter but has not self seeded so the gaps needed to be fillled. I spent a lot of time pottering in the greenhouse. It was warm in there, out of the wind.

Despite my yelling at Inca who desperately wanted to sample the Growmore, the robin hung around companionably. And just as the light began to fade, he sang so very sweetly from a nearby tree.

There was a pair of robins feeding together on an ant’s nest that I had uncovered in the front garden this morning, The male and female have a similar appearance. Juvenile robins do not have the red breast and head. We have had a pair living in our garden for a few years now but I have never found their nest. It must be in a wilder bit of the garden where I don’t venture.

A public ballot selected the robin as Britain’s national bird 40 years ago and it’s hugely popular within these shores. Robins are fiercely territorial. It’s hard to believe that they will peck each other’s eyes out and fight to the death on occasion.

I’ve found a wonderful diary of robins nesting in a Yorkshire garden. Beautifully written, photos of day old chicks and well worth a visit.

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