As many of you know, the robin was voted the UK’s national bird last year and has certainly had a place in my heart from a young age. As children, my sister and I often walked by a large house owned by an elderly man, who without fail would be joined by his loyal robin friend whenever gardening… so of course, we called him the ‘robin-man’. My mum also collects tasteful robin ornaments, so the little plump, bright-breasted bird is a definite favourite.
Living in a terrace house with a humble garden, birds tend not to visit – there has even been an untouched bird feeder hanging up for over a year. So as you can imagine, I was overjoyed when a robin wanted my little backyard to be part of it’s territory back in October. My mind was filled with images of the robin singing to me, watching me preparing the plants for winter… even sitting on my palm eating meal-worms. This all seemed possible apart from the fact that the ‘territory’ has always been fought over by our neighbours’ cats!
Five days away in Sweden meant that we would not know if the robin would be scared away, but as soon as we returned, I bought some dried meal-worms and put them out on the table. Although a few were secretly eaten and the bird-feeder was finally enjoyed, the robin must have thought that a yard with a cat either side was not the best area to stay in.
There are now moments when I see a falling leaf out of my back window that I think and hope that the robin has returned and had to smile when my partner compared me to the girl in my favourite #HomeForChristmas advert of the year by Waitrose…
…and that got me thinking. Do robins migrate?
Well I did a bit of research and as expected most British robins are residents to the UK all year round. They defend their territories and many females also establish their own winter territories, which perhaps my little robin was trying to do. Their nests are made from grass, moss and dead leaves, lined with hair and wool, and are usually built in holes in trees or walls.
However, there are some that DO actually migrate south to winter on the Continent whilst others return to the UK in the autumn from Scandinavia and northern continental Europe.
Do you have a little robin friend who returns to you? I would love to hear about it!