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The robin in song

David Chapman

Who is that noisy red visitor to your garden? David Chapman introduces the robin, often spotted in our gardens in late winter and early spring.

The robin in song
Robins have a relatively simple repertoire of song but the passion and clarity of their notes are second to none

You might imagine you have ownership of your garden but I wouldn't mind betting that there is a rather confident red-breasted rascal that sees the situation quite differently! 

By the time we reach February our garden birds are beginning to establish their breeding territories and our most familiar garden bird, the robin, certainly knows how to defend his. 

Bold and colourful the male robin, in early spring, has testosterone charging through his veins.  He uses his red breast as a badge of power and any other male robins that should ignore this symbol, venturing too close, will meet with his wrath.

Apart from using his red breast to maintain his authority, the male robin spends his spare time singing to proclaim ownership of his garden. He sings with greatest passion early in the morning just before sun rise, when feeding is usually least productive and his melodies travel further in the calm air of dawn. 

Robins have a relatively simple repertoire of song but the passion and clarity of their notes are second to none. Though every robin may sound the same to our ears, each one is subtly different and as a bird ages his repertoire increases. 

A singing robin will be known to others nearby and as long as his voice rings out every morning they will leave 'our' garden to him.


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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.