Look at your Christmas cards this year and you are bound to see a robin. This familiar bird from our gardens is very easy to identify. With their bright red breast, they brighten the snowy scenes on our cards. But there is more to robins than looking cute on a Christmas card.
Winter can be tough for small birds like robins. The days are short so there isn’t much time to look for food, and the nights are cold and long. A robin can use up to 10% of its body weight just keeping warm over one winter’s night. It must eat enough during the day so it can survive the cold of the night and with insects hibernating and hidden from view, food is hard to find.
Robins feed on the ground. In the winter they can be seen hunting through fallen leaves, flicking over the leaves as they look for insects, worms, seeds and fruit. Robins are able to take advantage of what light there is to keep feeding for longer than other birds. Their large eyes help them see in the early morning and at dusk when many other birds have had to stop feeding. In towns, robins can also look for food using street lights or other artificial lights.
Did you know…?
- Male and female robins look identical. Young robins don’t have a red breast and are brown with golden-yellow spots.
- One robin has been recorded as reaching the age of 12 years.
- Robins have been known to nest in unusual places such as in old teapots, jacket pockets and on shelves in buildings.
- The first postmen wore bright red waistcoats and were popularly known as 'Robins'.
Things to do:
Make your own robin
Download the instructions to make your own robin using pieces from an egg box.