The robin (Erithacus rubecula) is special to us British, our folklore is littered with references to this enchanting little bird. Not surprisingly, perhaps, it stands quite well in the RSPB Garden Birdwatch top 20 garden birds at number 10; nearly every garden must have one but, of course, in small numbers with an average of 1.33 per garden.
Despite its diminutive size it is a real fighter, especially when confronted by another robin on its patch. In winter we rarely see two in our garden and, at first, an average in excess of one per garden seems rather unlikely unless there are a lot of very big gardens included in the survey. When you think about it, however, our territories (ie: gardens) are not the same as a bird's territory! They will often have our fences as the central point of their patch and so two robins in a garden is not that unusual when their territories meet in the middle.
It is, of course, a resident species and there can hardly be a day in the year when a robin does not grace our garden. Perhaps a for a couple of weeks in August whilst it is moulting it becomes scarce but otherwise, there it is, helping with the gardening, checking out the washing on the line, looking over the apple tree to make sure it is in one piece, making the sure the lid on the compost bin is secure, and singing from the top of the fir tree.
It is the song of the robin that I find special, partly because it sings for ten months out twelve and for much of the autumn and early winter it is the only singing bird to cheer up cold, dark days. The other thing about the robins song is that from September it has a very wistful, almost melancholy, tone but as we get to February and the days are lengthening and the thoughts of spring loom so its becomes much more vibrant and jolly. Thanks Robin, life would not be the same without you.