When walking my dog it is most unusual not to be accompanied by the chirpy song of a robin. These red breasted beauties seem to be our most friendliest little bird here in the UK. Indeed they are our national bird and have lots of links to the festive season too.
In Victorian times postmen wore red jackets, earning them the nickname ‘Robin Redbreasts’ . Christmas cards would feature feathered robins delivering cards , they soon became synonymous with Yuletide.
It is also said that when Mary was giving birth to baby Jesus , a fire that had been lit was so in danger of going out ,that a small brown bird flew close to fan the flame. A stray ember landed on the kindly birds breast causing the robin to gain it’s orangey red colouring.
Robins have appeared in many poems including the first verse of a childs nursery rhyme below.
The North Wind Doth Blow
The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then?
He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Robins are actually very plucky little birds, more so than the poem suggests. In Edith Holden’s Country Diary of 1906 she recounted ‘ great battles among the Tits over the cocoa-nut, and once a Robin got right into it and refused to let the Tit approach, until he had all he wanted’ .
I note that the winter of 1906 woke to a snowy Christmas day morning. It looks like Edith’s garden visitors were well looked after though.
I am fortunate that my own feathered visitors include a robin too.
Merry Christmas and thanks for reading.