Robins in the garden

by Adam Pasco

[...] venture out into your garden over the coming days and you'll hopefully come face-to-face with your own resident robin.

RobinTheir image has adorned many a Christmas card decorating homes up and down the land, but venture out into your garden over the coming days and you'll hopefully come face-to-face with your own resident robin.

At least one robin has made my garden its home, although on occasions I've had two vying for my attention - or rather scrambling into newly dug soil in search of a tasty morsel or two.

Robins are welcome companions to anyone gardening during winter, and always provide me with a moment to pause and watch. As soon as I spot a robin I try to stand motionless (well, it does provide a break from digging and leaf gathering). Hopefully the robin knows I'm not a threat. They are such trusting birds, unlike so many others. Perhaps it's simply their need for food at this time of year, but robins really do get up close, and don't appear to be scared.

You feel as if they would feed out of your hand, but perhaps that is hoping too much. Instead, any worms turned over during digging are picked out and thrown a safe distance away into a clearing. From its vantage point on a fence, branch or spade handle (yes, they always perch photogenically, don't they) it will soon spot the wiggling worm.

Of course, birds don't just eat worms, and play a big part in picking over trees and soil in search of overwintering pests around the garden. Welcome them in with food and water, provide them with hedges and shrubs for shelter, and they'll reward you by helping control unwanted pests. What's a pest to you is food for them, which is one reason why it pays to lay off the pesticides whenever possible. Without pests there would be no food, and far fewer birds!

The only thing I have to worry about now is making sure I've warmed-up properly before getting stuck into some vigorous digging. The last thing I want is an expensive trip to the physio this week to sort out my back! Gentle exercise, and gentle digging will clear-up the garden nicely before the New Year, but I'll be extra careful where I step as that robin does have a habit of getting under your feet!

Happy digging, and a very Happy New Year!

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Gardeners' World Web User 29/12/2009 at 09:41

I too have a resident robin again. I fed one all last wintr.Could it be the same one? Mine still hides if I'm in the garden but it doesn't fly off. It will now fly onto my front fence and pause to see me off when leaving the garden. it also watches and sees off other species if i' m around, and is always first for breakfast at first light.

Gardeners' World Web User 29/12/2009 at 11:27

I have two robins in my garden - they stay in their own part and never cross over into the other's territory but they are not at all afraid and come within a yard of me when I am working in the garden.

Gardeners' World Web User 29/12/2009 at 20:30

My Grandfather had a robin which would perch on his hat or sometimes on his shoulder while he dug his allotment. The bird did this for a good two years and then suddenly disappeared. How long do small birds like the robin live?

Gardeners' World Web User 29/12/2009 at 23:11

i have an robin cume to my allotment every day. even when i dig the grownd over and the worms all cume up. it is ther eating them. it is good to see it in the allotment. now i dig them up for the robin.

Gardeners' World Web User 31/12/2009 at 19:22

I have a robin that comesandtaps onthe window and then follows meto the greenhouse where I keephis /her food. Last summer I had it feeding out of my hand.What a greast feeling.

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