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Hazelwick School

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Hazelwick School Eco Club

This month’s article has been written by Varada Shamal in 7NWI

It is going to be December soon, and you’re probably going to find a European robin hopping around your garden, looking for food. They are known for many things – the starring role in Christmas cards, a gardener's friend and one of the friendliest garden birds in the UK. I’m going to share a few facts about robins and tips on how to help them.

There are two types of robins – European and American. The type of robin we all will find is the European Robin. It has a brown back, white belly and is orange from half of its face to its belly. Its bill (beak) and eyes are black. They are small and could fit into both of your palms.

Robins aren’t fussy about where to nest – they make their home almost anywhere, as long as it provides good shelter and warmth. They sometimes even make their nest in discarded kettles, parts of machinery and bicycle handlebars! That’s one of the reasons why I like robins – they are eco champions themselves, setting us a good example on how to recycle used items.  Another fact (and reason why I like robins) they can recognise humans. You can prove it yourself; just feed a robin in a fixed schedule and then, one day, feed it a little late – it will start to get impatient! If you befriend a robin, it will trust you and follow you around your garden like a trustworthy friend.

Ever wondered why a robin might seem to be attacking someone on your window? Well, you can get some information right away – it is a male robin. In the wild, if a robin strays too far into a different territory, the male robin in charge will attack the trespasser. So, when the robin comes to the window and sees a reflection of itself, it thinks it is a trespasser. Then – attack! Defend your friend’s land!

What can we do to help robins? The main thing that makes a robin happy is to provide its natural prey – worms. It is simple, just dig a hole and you would expose a couple of worms, attracting a robin to your garden. They will appreciate it if you leave a small tray of seeds, berries and probably some biscuit crumbs.

You can set up a nestbox (especially during the winter) for shelter and warmth fit for a robin. Don’t set it up near bushes and trees to avoid surprise attacks from cats. Also leave a freshly dug hole, a tray of seeds and berries and a bowl of water. Robins like to drink and bathe regularly.

What if you find an injured robin? Usually, when a robin is injured, it will be in a state of stress. To relieve it, place it gently in a well-ventilated box/cage for two hours. Open the box/cage. If the robin doesn’t fly away or is badly injured in the first place, contact a wildlife rehabilitation agency.

How do you know if the robin is stressed? Check if its feathers are ruffled or if it is acting weak. If it is stressed, it wouldn’t fly away when you approach it.

That’s all from me now. Good luck in helping robins and making the world a better place for them!


Varada Shamal