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The robin – our favourite festive feathered friend

It’s no wonder the robin is the UK’s favourite bird, says the RSPB. They are easy to spot, with their handsome red breasts, they’re people-friendly and they provide us with beautiful birdsong pretty much all year round.

However, Christmas is the time we really get to celebrate robins.  Stories about their association with the season go back as far as the birth of Jesus, when a robin reportedly got its red chest from a spark as it fanned a fire to keep the baby warm.

In the Victorian era, the robin became popular on Christmas cards, associated with the red uniforms of the posties who delivered them, who were also referred to as ‘robins.’

Adult robin returning to its nest in a flowerpot to feed its chicks (RSPB)

Robins have been around for centuries, with mentions dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. They are historically woodland birds that would follow large mammals such as wild boar around, knowing that their steps and digging in the dirt would uncover worms and insects for them to eat. That’s why they’re known as the ‘gardener’s friend,’ because they’ll perch nearby while you work, watching as you do the heavy lifting!

Robin on garden fork handle (RSPB)

If you’d like to get out and about over the festive season, the RSPB is hosting a number of special robin-themed trails around selected nature reserves to coincide with the release of Aardman’s new film Robin Robin on Netflix.

For details of the trails and where to visit – plus information on how to attract robins to your garden, and art and craft activities with a robin theme – go to rspb.org.uk/robinrobin

Interesting facts about robins from the RSPB:

  • Each robin has its own unique red breast feather pattern which makes it possible (though still very difficult!) to identify individuals.
  • Though they normally only live between two and five years, the oldest recorded robin was 11 years and 5 months!
  • Cold weather is really hard on robins – they can use up to 10 per cent of their body weight, keeping warm on a night when temperatures plummet, so feeding them in our gardens especially in winter, is a big help! And that includes providing water.
  • Though they seem friendly to us, they are fiercely territorial and are capable of fighting to the death in spring to defend their patch as breeding starts.
  • Since the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979, robins have featured in the top 20 sightings every single year! Registration for January 2022’s event is now open rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

 

Silver & Rose Gold Robin Pendant

This gorgeous little bird is lovingly crafted from solid sterling silver and has the addition of a carefully sculpted 14ct rose gold breast. This gorgeous little creature is 13mm x 19mm and is sold on a fine silver chain adjustable from 40cm-46cm.

£56

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Garden Bird Feeder

This I Love Robins clear hanging bird feeder with rain dome is perfect for attracting small garden birds – and keeping larger birds away. Fill with birdseed or mealworms. Measures 15.5 x 15.5 x 22 centimetres,

£11.99

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