Every year, the British people vote in their thousands to declare which of our garden birds is the favourite of all. One of the most popular (which has now become our National Bird) is the garden Robin.
These friendly birds have shadowed farmers and gardeners for hundreds of years, waiting for us to unearth any grubs or worms that are otherwise out of reach.
However, there is a darker side to this garden favourite. Their call, which is fast-paced and full of random notes, is actually a battle cry.
The strength of the call dictates the bird’s physical health. The louder and clearer the song, the stronger the bird and the more likely it is that it will win in a fight. And at this time of year, that’s very important.
Although they will take seed from the bird table, Robins are insectivores by nature. In winter, this can mean the difference between surviving the winter or not. Insects are much harder to find in the colder months, so robins must maintain their territory until spring to ensure they have enough food.
The song will hopefully keep their neighbours at bay, but when two birds are equally matched they will fight and even kill each other to protect their home.
So spare a thought for the Robin this winter, if the predictions prove true that this is to be an extra tough year, they will have to pull all the stops out to survive.
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