Tuesday, 21 April 2015

R: This feisty singer brings good cheer

Only little, but robins punch above their weight in being my R reason to be cheerful. The European robin, which is the one I'm familiar with, has the most delightful song and looks cute as anything, which is no doubt one reason why it appears on so many Christmas cards.

There have been calls for Britain to adopt the robin as its national bird and frankly I think that's a good idea. Robins are actually widespread through Europe but when I see one here on Skopelos it always makes me think of Britain.

R is for robin.
Robins may well have a song to bring cheer to everyone and make ideal subjects for Christmas cards, but their jolly appearance should not mislead us. The birds are extremely territorial and will engage in fierce fighting with rivals. Conversely if they see you gardening they are quite likely to get close in the hope that you will disturb some juicy grubs for them to eat.

That robins have a special place in the hearts of Britons is surely shown by the 16th century rhyme The North Wind Doth Blow.

"The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing."

You see, even back in the 16th century people worried about robins.

Quite a few songs about robins that I could have chosen, but in the end I went for Rockin' robin by Bobby Day. The song will be familiar to many because of the cover version by the Jackson 5.

  • Question: Do you think the robin should be the national bird of Britain or should we choose something with big wings, talons and a hooky beak that can rip flesh? Let me know in the comments section  below.

* Picture of a robin by Poco a poco [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Hi Mark - I'd vote for the blackbird as they have a wonderful song ... mellifluous is the word I'd use ... yet the robin is always a-bobbin along when I'm out in the garden ...

    Cheers Hilary

  2. I have a robin who is regular visitor to my garden. My sister had one which would sit on your hand to feed off mealworms. It makes you feel very special to have a robin sitting on your hand! My vote is for the robin.

  3. I just saw a robin today! It was thrilling because I don't see many of them in Texas. I'm currently in North Carolina visiting family and the sight of the robin just filled me with a rush of memories from back home (Buffalo/Niagara Falls NY): everyone delighted in seeing the first robin of the year because it meant that the long winter was coming to an end as the robins had made their way up north for the summer months. I think the robin would make a fine bird for Brits! And I love the Rockin' Robin song. I was hoping you would choose that song Mark! :)
    Michele at Angels Bark


I'd like to hear from you so please feel free to comment. Sorry, no anonymous comments.