Birds of Exminster - The Robin

Articles - Birds of Exminster

The Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is certainly one of the most well-known birds in Britain and regularly features on Christmas cards. It is of course very distinctive with its ?red breast? and its habit of often living near humans.

Robins can appear tame, especially to gardeners who they seem happy to approach and they can eventually become hand-tame with regular feeding.? However, they are of course really more interested in worms and other small creatures that are disturbed when people are gardening. Interestingly this behaviour is only found in Britain and Ireland and on the continent the bird is much more wary of humans.

The male and female are similar in colour, with the familiar orange/red breast, brown upperparts and a whitish underneath. Young robins look a little like a very small thrush with a spotted chest.

The Robin has a lovely fluting, warbling song during the breeding season.? Both male and female robins sing during the winter too, when they hold separate territories, their song then sounds more plaintive, almost wistful, when compared with their summer version. Walking through the village at quiet times can allow you to hear several robins as you move from one robin territory to another and then on to the next. They can occasionally be heard singing at night, especially where there is a lot of street lighting.

In autumn and winter, robins will supplement their usual diet of spiders, worms and insects, with fruit and berries. They will also eat seed mixtures and fat placed on bird-tables. A spell of very low temperatures in winter may result in significant mortality so please keep feeding the birds. It has been found that the domestic cat kills fifteen times as many robins as do birds of prey such as the sparrowhawk.? ?
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Male Robins are noted for their highly aggressive territorial behaviour.? They will quite ruthlessly attack other males that stray into their territories, and have been observed attacking other small birds without apparent provocation. So two robins in the garden in spring may be OK but three definitely means trouble!

This is the last in our series of Birds photographed in Exminster in 2008.? Happy Bird Watching in 2009!

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