Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Robin Redbreast

While I wait patiently for a response to my enquiry about a development which slipped under my radar – the metal work is already up to a great height and if this represents the way things will go with construction then students will be bedding down in the finished building by January 2010 – I divert myself and I hope you also with a small item.

The mighty Robin.

These days one is supposed to call them the euro-something Robin, the result of a conference where, following years of whining, American scientists insisted 'the' was a colonialist hangover which must go. The early colonists in the U.S.A. spotting a bird with red on it called this a robin, presumably to remind themselves of the old country they soon dumped. Ah, never mind!

The Robin was chosen sometime back to be Britain's national bird. Appropriately since it is aggressive and markedly anti-social!

It has one endearing quality. It sings two songs, one in spring and the other in winter. Both males and females sing – the sexes are well nigh impossible to distinguish one from the other.

I have heard several on recent walks around Battlefield. They are laying out their stalls for the future and the song is a warning as much as it is encouragement.

The identification of the Robin with winter is certainly pagan and the early church rather than admonish, adopted customs which could feasibly be interwoven with Christianity. So the Robin is pre-eminently a winter time bird and about to appear on a greeting card near you soon.

© B.B.C. 2005

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