Robins

Jan. 17th, 2013 11:20 am
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 I'm up to my neck in work for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival, but the good news is that we've now completed our concert line up and have early bird season tickets for sale.

However, I feel in need of distraction and I'd like to chat to my friends here, so I offer you a discourse on the subject of robins. (who are, of course, early birds)

It is a tradition in our family that there is actually only one robin.  The proof for this is simple.  If you are working in your garden, you will only ever see one robin.  If you go for a walk, you will only ever see one robin at a time.  Clearly, the same robin is moving along with you and simply pretending to be a series of different birds.

There is no gender difference in robins (even experts say it's hard to tell), because they are all in fact a single (hemaphrodite?) bird.  However, birds, as far as I know, don't indulge in parthenogenesis, therefore it is necessary to invoke time travel to explain how the robin manages to produce eggs.  The robin loops back in time, has sex with himself and eventually hatches out of his own egg.  One of the adults dies and the chick continues.

In our garden at present, there is a time-looping robin.  One incarnation lives in the hedge and one in the mulberry tree.  The demarcation line appears to centre on the bird feeder...  


You'll all be familiar with robins on Christmas cards, the classic image to this day is the robin perched on top of a red letter box (I counted four of this type of design in a single shop this Christmas).



But why is this kind of image so common?  



Back in Victorian times, postmen wore red livery and were nicknamed 'robins' as a result.  Victorian christmas cards often showed a robin with a christmas card in his beak.


Although the uniform has long since changed, we still associate robins with Christmas and friendly things.

This may also help explain why British robins are confident birds and happy to come near you when you're working in the garden whereas European robins are far more secretive.  Our minds associate robins with good things and we chat to them and make them feel welcome.  They have come to know they are safe, and continue to happily search for garden pests in our company.

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Judith Proctor

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