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January 15, 2013 / viewsfromasmallisland

Small, charming and a killer

Robin feeding 15.1.13I have to admit that today I was really struggling to meet the commitment of a photo per day. Then I thought, I know, the birdfeeder. We feed the birds all year round and there is always something there to see. Who should be the first to appear but that quintessentially British bird, the Robin. I should call it the European Robin, to distinguish it from the American Robin, which is a completely different bird. The Robin is a beautiful small bird that is considered by many in the UK as the British bird. It’s range is vast however, and goes far beyond Britain but we like to think of it as ours. So I present to you Britain as represented by a little bird. Actually, it’s not a bad analogy. Despite its size, charm and chirpy appearance, it is tough, and I mean tough. It can be very aggressive when defending its territory against rivals and unusually for the bird world, it is not uncommon for it to actually fight to the death. Having said that, I love Robins. It has become very confident around people in the UK and will appear whenever the ground is being disturbed by gardening activity. This willingness to join in the gardening and its very confident nature has led to it being referred to as the gardener’s friend. It’s actually just after a free meal but you can’t blame it for that. I find its song beautiful, and in the winter its solitary, plaintive call can still be heard into the twilight. I often look to nature for lessons in life. So what can I learn from the Robin? Well, firstly, don’t be fooled by appearances and secondly, be very careful who you pick a fight with.

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