12 Facts About Robins
Robins are welcome visitors to our gardens all year round but especially in winter when their cheery red breast can brighten up even the dullest of days.
Here are 12 fun facts about Britain’s favourite bird.
Nearly 75 per cent of robins will die before they reach the age of one either at the clutches of predators or because they are unable to fend for themselves. In some populations ten per cent of adult robin deaths are due to them defending their territory.
In the Victorian age, robin skins were popular adornments for ladies’ hats.
Due to artificial lighting robins will often sing at night and are sometimes mistaken for nightingales despite being one of the most common night singing birds.
Early colonial settlers named the American robin after the European robin because of its similar colouring.
In mild winters robins can start breeding as early as January although their usual breeding season starts in March.
Unusual nesting places
Robins have been known to nest in all sorts of unusual places including post boxes, discarded boots, outside ashtrays, plant pots and even the engine of an old World War II plane.
A spoonful of sugar
In the film Mary Poppins, the robin that lands on Mary’s finger during “A Spoonful of Sugar” is an American robin instead of a European robin.
Unofficial national bird
The robin has twice been declared Britain’s national bird; the first time was in 1960 and the second in 2015. But it’s not yet been made official.
The gardener’s friend
In the UK robins are renowned for their friendliness. However, in the rest of Europe they are shy and generally unapproachable.
Every continent has its own species of robins, but only the Japanese and Ryukyu robins are closely related to the European robin.
Despite their cute appearance, male robins can be very aggressive and will attack their own reflection or even a bundle of red feathers if they mistake it for another bird.
The robin is a member of the thrush family, and is related to the blackbird and the nightingale.