by Jan Curry from The Round Hill Reporter December 2005
Have a merry robin
Have a merry robin. I bet we will all receive at least one on a card this Christmas.
There was a robin in this garden most of the summer; he became very tame and would fly down to my feet as soon as I stood still. Sadly, he disappeared, so imagine how pleased I was when, the other evening, a robin materialised out of the dusk. He escorted me down the whole length of the garden - robins are always one of the last to roost. It was drizzling, and by the time we reached the house, it was throwing it down. As the wind slammed my door shut and I stepped into the warm, I wondered where he would shelter for the night.
Robins are one of the few birds that sing in the winter. It’s not just for the joy of living, it’s to warn off any robin rivals. They are fierce, territorial birds and will fight beak and claw if an intruder ventures into any acre of ground they consider to be their own.
They eat meat in summer - beetles ants, slugs and spiders - but become vegetarians in winter - seeds and berries. They adore broken biscuit crumbs. If you are daft/brave/patient and buy them some mealy worms, they will soon eat out of your hand.
Like all the garden birds, they need water to drink and bathe in, even in the depths of winter. Keep their drinking dish free of ice and in return, they will thank you with a bitter-sweet melodic song.
Incidentally, robins find their partners in December; other birds wait until spring. A busy month, then, what with posing for all those Christmas cards.