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Our supervisor, the robin

Posted by Miranda Hodgson on 13 Dec 2009 at 03:03 PM

It never takes long for a robin to appear when you’re digging. Yesterday, as usual, the robin who holds the territory at our garden was aware of our presence as soon as we arrived and came to see what we were doing.

When we walk through the garden gate, the robin will be right there, as if on cue, watching from a short distance – it will appear in the apple tree, the damson tree, or sitting on the edge of the compost bay and from that point, until we leave, our tiny supervisor will seldom move out of sight. I should be glad that they can’t issue orders, so closely do they watch.

Yesterday it accompanied us the whole day, flitting down from its perch to inspect each newly dug patch of soil, picking up the worms that our spades brought to the surface. At one point, it even posed for a photograph. I like to think it had a full belly by the time dusk arrived and we put away our tools.

I have read that at one time robins would follow wild boar about the forests of the UK, waiting for them to unearth worms and grubs. These days, it is humans that they follow, instead, so I suppose that we might consider ourselves as substitutes for wild boar. Now there's a thought.


Review of David Lack's 'The Life of the Robin'


EvaInNL said:

Lovely article Miranda, brought back memories of when I was younger and 'our' robin would watch from the hawthorn bush and the blackbirds were stalking me from ground level and the dog trying to entice me to play with him by biting the spade/rake. You never actually saw the blackbirds but you could hear them in the undergrowth of the hedge.

on 13 Dec 2009 at 04:10 PM

richardpeeej said:

It's very interesting Miranda how your robin follows you and watches you in that way. BB has a similar one who follows her and Missy from her garden and goes with them on their walks through the park.

on 13 Dec 2009 at 04:31 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

Eva, you've just reminded me of my dog biting the vacuum cleaner.

I bet you've got a robin nearby, Richard. There can't be many acres in the country that don't have a robin; they are so territorial that any available spaces are soon snapped up and desirable territories are vigorously defended. Listen at dusk for their singing, it will be high, sweet and fluting.

on 14 Dec 2009 at 05:54 PM

Foxnfirefly said:

Interesting--I didn't realize this till after reading your article but we've had a resident robin at a previous house and this one.  At the previous house, the robin made her nest in a "Sunny Foster" holly.  At our current house, a robin always has a spring nest going in an golden eunonymus (sp?)standard  right outside the back porch.  I'll look around for her when I garden next spring to see if she's watching me.  

on 18 Dec 2009 at 04:46 AM