The Robin – a symbol of Christmas
The Robin has long been a symbol of Christmas and they’re a familiar sight on Christmas Cards and decorations, often depicted in the snow or proudly stood on a spring of Holly. Although the Robin is a common winter bird in the UK these red breasted beauties are not the only reason the Robin is associated with Christmas.
In Victorian times postmen were referred to as ‘Robins’ because of their Royal Mail red uniform. As the only way of communication for many, a delivery from the local ‘Robin redbreast’, of letters and cards from friends and loved ones, would be eagerly awaited, especially at Christmas time. Maybe this is why the postman often whistles a friendly tune whilst delivering to our doors, who knows?
Legend also has it that when Mary was giving birth to Jesus in the stable the fire keeping them warm started to dwindle, a robin came and flapped its wings bringing the fire to life, in doing so the fires cinders flew up striking the robin in the chest making it glow red. Mary declared that the Robins red breast was a sign of the birds kind heart.
With the Robin such an important part of the festive season it is vitally important that we do our best to look after them and for all our other important garden birds too.
Winter is a challenging time for our featured friends, but we can help their chance of survival during the coldest months with these 3 top tips;
Keep your bird feeders topped up and provide high energy food such as fat balls and suet cakes. With more birds visiting bird feeders at this time of year it’s especially important to ensure they are cleaned and sterilised regularly. Plants that bear berries are not only a great addition to the garden but to garden birds diets.
Bird Baths are a valuable source of water for birds for drinking and bathing so it’s important to keep them from freezing over, the RSPB recommends floating a small ball, such as a ping-pong ball, on the surface of the water. Even the lightest breeze will keep it moving and stop an area of the water freezing.
Putting up a Nest box or planting dense hedging in your garden will provide much needed shelter from the elements and warmth for birds.
So, every time you see the postman or light the fire, remember the Robin and check that your garden is providing for them and their friends this winter, it really is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
For more information on caring for birds and wildlife please see our Birds and Wildlife Care page here