My name is Jenny and I am a Commodity Consultant for MOCC.
Robins are typically thought of as a symbol of Christmas festivities, but how did this come about?
A robin is for life, not just for Christmas!
I have researched this subject for you, which I have detailed below,
I hope you find this insightful,
The garden robin is a popular little chap and a Christmas card favourite, but contrary to common belief, he probably visits your garden all year round, not just for Christmas.
Here’s all you need to know about the nation’s much-loved bird:
Character: I think I can refer to this as character rather than habit because the robin is seen as quite the charming bird, why else would he be the star of so many greetings cards? In truth though, the robin is given credit where credit is not always due, for he is no cute and amiable fellow, rather a territorial winged assassin! Even his red breast, which many mistakenly believe is used to attract a mate, is used as a means to intimidate potential competition.
Where: Garden robins are one of the few birds to hold a territory all year-round. This tends to be held by a mated pair throughout the summer months and then individually over winter. You wouldn’t have more than one robin or mated pair of robins in your garden and, if you are lucky enough to have some, your neighbours either side of you – and probably further along than that – almost certainly don’t. You’ll find robins across the UK throughout the year and they are particularly visible around hedgerows and woodland areas. Robins are also drawn to gardens because of the solitude that they afford.
How to know if you have a robin in your garden or nearby: If you’re not sure whether or not you have a robin’s nest in your garden, or the local area, a good way to draw them out is to attract them with either a stuffed robin or pile of red feathers as the colour is known to draw them out in an act of territorial defence. You might also listen…
Song: Robins, both male and female, aren’t shy and are one of the few birds to sing year-round, with the exception of midsummer when they are moulting and rarely seen or heard. Robins sing as another means of defence. The robin’s autumn and spring songs are distinctly different, with spring song being much more powerful in the males as they begin to look for a mate. Robins use song to ward off other birds and thus they are often the earliest and latest singers and have even been known to erupt into song if disturbed in the middle of the night.
Feeding and breeding: Again, both of these things are driven by the robins need to protect its individual territory, which is why robins will pair only for the duration of the mating season. Once this is over, they will happily go their separate ways. Robins feed on a diet of insects and worms and the occasional berry, in an area that is predominately isolated and fiercely fortified until breeding season comes around.
How to attract robins into your garden: Robins are fascinating birds and protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or move any wild robin. This extends to a robin’s eggs and nest. Keeping their territorial nature in mind, some people consider the robin as one of wildlife’s thugs and aren’t keen on the idea of encouraging robins into their gardens, but it would be wrong to try and deter them.
The poster-bird of countless Christmas cards, December is the robin’s time in the spotlight. But robins aren’t just for Christmas. Because they rarely move far from where they’ve hatched and, generally speaking, don’t migrate, they’re with us all year round – and yes, that cheeky chappie who joins you while you’re gardening is likely the same individual. Feisty and bold, robins are highly territorial and operate alone, unlike sociable sparrows or finches which you’ll mostly find in flocks.
So why are robins associated with Christmas?
1. Firstly, those red feathers. Of all the birds hopping round your feeder, robins look like they’ve just pulled on a Christmas jumper and are about to start administering mince pies round the office. Put simply, a robin just looks festive, especially when perched prettily on a holly branch. Posers.
2. The tradition of sending Christmas cards started with the Victorians, who nicknamed their postmen ‘robins’ or ‘redbreasts’ because they wore waistcoats of – you guessed it – a nice, natty scarlet.
3. There’s also a Christmas legend that tells of a small brown bird which fanned the fire in Jesus’ stable to keep him warm – and so the robin got its red breast. I wouldn’t bet many chocolate coins on this one being true, but hey, it's a nice story.
4. Long before the birth of Christianity, robins had a place in festive folklore. Possibly because they keep on singing while everything else is quiet, and are so easy to spot in the snow, they were adopted by midwinter festivals as a symbol of hope and luck.
The robin has become strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role on many Christmas cards since the RSPB published and sold the UK’s first charity Christmas cards featuring the birds in the mid-19th century. The Robin has also appeared on many Christmas postage stamps. The association with Christmas is said to arise from the fact that postmen in Victorian Britain wore red uniforms and were nicknamed "Robin". In the 1960s the Robin was adopted as the unofficial national bird of the UK and is today a much loved feathered friend.
It’s time for the Carnaby Christmas robins to fly the nest after spending Christmas in one of London’s coolest shopping destinations. Both synonymous with British heritage, the robin theme and Carnaby were the perfect match for 2013’s Christmas installations; world renowned for being original and striking.
The Carnaby robins have been papped and survived the British weather and now they’re looking for a place to recuperate in the new year. To own your own Carnaby robin, come and choose your own red breasted bird from 19 Foubert’s Place between 1pm and 4pm on Friday 17 January.
Owners can show us the robins in their new home by posting a photo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest with #Carnaby, to be in with a chance of winning £250 to spend in Carnaby Street. All entries to be submitted by 1 February 2014.
Carnaby is donating the five large robins to the RSPB, who will be present on the day to collect moneyto fund conservation work.
The RSPB’s Senior Community Fundraiser, Nicola Willett, says "In the sixties, Jimi Hendrix released a pair of ring-necked parakeets in Carnaby Street as a symbol of peace and love. Greater London now has more than thirty-thousand ring-necked parakeets. It would be amazing if donations for the robins grew in number as magnificently as those exotic green parakeets. All money raised will help fund conservation work to reverse the loss of our native wildlife, which includes falling numbers of common birds such as robins, sparrows, swifts and turtle doves."
Unlike continental robins, their British counterparts are known for their tameness, making them the perfect addition to your home or garden.
These amazing pictures show the touching friendship between a lorry driver and a robin who eats from the palm of his hand and perches on the steering wheel.
Euan Cameron, 59, has been spending his lunchtimes with the little bird most days since just before Christmas.
The plant operator has been working at Inverewe Gardens in the Highlands on a construction project, driving machinery.
New friend: Euan Cameron, 59, has been spending his lunchtimes with this little bird most days since they met just before Christmas
Lunch buddy: The plant operator has been working at Inverewe Gardens in the Highlands on a construction project, driving machinery and the bird now eats from the palm of his hand
Like clockwork: The friendship started when the robin hopped into his truck, and it has been returning at the same time almost every day every since
Comfortable: Mr Cameron's wife Susan, 55, said: 'The robin just came in about him. He gave it some food and it jumped onto his hand
It was there that he first met the robin, which hopped into his truck, and has been returning at the same time each day every since, to join him for lunch.
His wife Susan, 55, said: 'The robin just came in about him. He gave it some food and it jumped onto his hand.
'He took it some seed. It comes nearly every day now.
'When he's having his lunch the robin is there. It always seems to be there when he is having his tea and lunch.'
Lunchtime: Mr Cameron took the bird some seed and it comes nearly every day now when he has his tea, his wife said
Take a knee: The bird has even been pictured eating seeds off Mr Cameron's knee during their lunches together at Inverewe
In the driver's seat: Euan, from Inverness, started taking photos of the bird as it got friendlier, which show it sitting on his hand, his knee and even his steering wheel
Susan, a retired Tesco employee, wonders if there is a supernatural aspect to the friendship, as many people believe a robin that constantly visits is the sign a loved one who has passed away is saying hello
Euan, from Inverness, started taking photos of the bird as it got friendlier, which show it sitting on his hand, his knee and even his steering wheel.
Susan, a retired Tesco employee, added: 'He doesn't like birdwatching or anything. He's just taken to this wee robin.'
She wonders if there is a supernatural aspect to the friendship, as many people believe a robin that constantly visits is the sign a loved one who has passed away is saying hello.
She said: 'His brother passed away four years ago. I told him, "it's probably your brother come to see you".'