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The Christmas Robin

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The Christmas Robin - Cameos of Bird Life #16

Believe it or not Christmas is coming ...

winter robins posting early for Christmas

And who doesn’t like a Christmas Robin ...

There’s no mistaking it; the festive season is well and truly upon us. Christmas trees, laden with baubles and twinkling lights, can be seen popping up in windows all over the country and it won’t be long before we start coming home to find Christmas cards lying on the doormat.

Chances are that at least one of these messages from loved ones will have a robin gracing the front cover.

One of the strongest associations between robins and Christmas cards can be traced back to the days of the Victorian postie. For a time,  Royal Mail postmen wore bright red uniforms which soon earned them the nickname 'robins'. As the exchange of Christmas cards grew in popularity, depictions of robins holding cards in their beaks began to appear. A trend was born and, over a century later, robins are still one of the most favoured images on the market.

As well as adorning our mantelpieces, the robin is also responsible for the snatches of birdsong that can be heard in our parks and gardens at this time of year. Unlike most other songbirds who fall silent after the breeding season has come to an end, the robin continues to make himself heard. His song does change depending on the season; the winter song definitely has a frostier feel than the sweeter tune we hear in the spring. This may have something to do with the changing function of the song. In the spring months, the male robin has love on his mind. He is looking for a mate and, though he still needs to defend his territory against potential rivals, his song has a smoother quality. When winter strikes however, romance goes out of the window. It's all about survival, which leaves no room for any sweet talk. Don't be fooled by the charming melody though - if you were a robin he would try to take you down in a second.

Cheryl Tipp, Curator of Wildlife & Environmental Sounds - British Library

Source: The Christmas robin - Sound and vision blog

As is my wont I occasionally slip in a favourite piece of music to my posts. And what better than at Christmastime. To get you in the mood here is my all time favourite Christmas album - a folk classic from Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band ...

A Tapestry of Carols - Maddy Prior

ARVE

Have a great Christmas.

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The recording of the Robin’s autumn/winter song by Sylvan Schnabel, is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs4.0 license. This and many more can be found at - Xeno-Canto a website dedicated to sharing bird sounds from all over the world.