Recently voted the Nation’s Favourite Bird, and regular cover star on Christmas cards, the Robin is definitely in my top ten favourite birds. It’s feisty and territorial nature belie it’s small and fragile build and woe betide any bird who thinks it can muscle in on it’s patch!
Robin’s have a tendency to do house visits, and I mean actually in the house not just the garden. Once they have crossed the doorway it is very likely they will continue to pop back and forth whenever a door or window is left open. Mum recalls that her Grandma had a regular Robin visitor – it would let itself in and happily hop around keeping a check on everyone before pottering off again.
Friends in Ireland also have a Robin house guest who has been visiting them for a few years; they said it always stays downstairs in the kitchen or front room, never bothering to go upstairs and flying off when it’s checked everything is present, correct and shipshape.
Sitting with Anna Maltz in a central London beer garden during summer, we were both fascinated and charmed by the Robin who had made the small backyard his home and bobbed about from table to table, pecking at crisp crumbs and letting it be know that it was most definitely ‘his’ territory. Apparently he has been there for years and has magically disappeared from the photo stream on my phone! And only recently Kat Goldin posted a picture on Instagram of a Robin who has become a house guest in her home.
There are a number of stories and Old Wives Tales associated with Robins and they are often used as symbols in paintings and folklore, but the one I have always known is told by Mum; Apparently a robin in the house is the embodiment of a dead relative coming back to make sure everything is okay and they stay and act as a guardian. Whilst my belief in such stories has long since vanished, there is a certain charm about this one.
I’d love to hear if you have a regular Robin house guest but in the meantime will leave you with Al Jolson crooning…