Sunday, 22 February 2009

Birds of a feather...




I am going out for the day, so today's blog has, of necessity, to be short.
Recently I spoke of the farmer putting up two new nest boxes - one of which was designed for a robin. Your comments made me realise that my British and my American readers would each have a completely different image in their minds when reading about the robin.
The first time I went to the States someone pointed out an American robin to me - it is a lovely bird, quite tame and pretty, but completely different from our robin. So here for today is a picture of a British Robin and a picture of an American robin, so that you can see how different they are. I don't know how widespread the American robin is - I am sure one of my American readers will tell me (I hope so anyway) but our robin is everywhere - very pretty, very tame but with other robins, very aggressive.
Sorry about the difference in image size - but my computer skills are limited and I can't see how to make the American robin any bigger. So apologies Mr Robin - you are a bigger bird than your English counterpart - sorry I couldn't make you so.

22 comments:

Annie Wicking said...

Hi Weaver, I've been out for my morning and have seen quite a few robins on my travels. Singing their hearts out, which is beautiful to hear

Have a great day, my dear friend,

Annie

Dave King said...

Are their songs different, do you know?

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

In common with most people, I imagine, I love robins but I didn't realise the American one was different!

BTW, I had a customer in the shop yesterday who was talking about bird song and said some research suggested that the song of town birds was becoming different to that of their country cousins of the same species. Apparently, because we cause so much noise in the towns that the bird is having to put up a fight to be heard and changing the pitch. It was also suggested that this is putting females off! Are you aware of this? It sounds plausible.

jinksy said...

What an exceedingly chirpy robin he looks, too, red and feisty. x

Elizabeth said...

Saw a nice plump English blackbird in my friend's Kentish town garden this morning.
A treat. Your robin is charming.

Heather said...

I have been very remiss for the past few days and have had to do a lot of catching up on your posts. Wonderful views, vistas, rivers, castles and interesting talk about the countryside in your part of the country. Do hope Rosy Rabbit is happy with her choice and robins are so delightful to see and hear, inspite of their reputation. There is one which comes and sings to me while I work in the garden - for two or three years on the trot I'd swear it was the same bird. Hope you have a pleasant day out.

Jenn Jilks said...

I think it should be the North American Robin! We have these in Central Ontario - mind you not for another couple of months. We have had snow yesterday, all night and all day.

You European Robin is delightful!

I found a YouTUbe video of it singing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97JiNMFfSs8
(I have no where important to go today!) and the song is different than our little robin red-breast.
Our robin is a little larger, with a more mezzo-soprano note! You can hear it sing here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98DFgHAe-Qw

So lovely to see what is happening in other parts of the world. I can only travel vicariously!

Sal said...

Yes, the American Robin is quite strange compared to our Robin.
I love watching the birds when I sit on my sofa and blog! We still have our pheasant with us too..he comes and knocks on the patio door almost every day!;-)

HelenMHunt said...

That's so interesting. I had no idea there was such a thing as an American Robin.

Robyn said...

Our South African robin is different as well (it has a little white eyebrow). I will never forget the first time I saw a British Robin face to face. I had seen it on christmas cards and in books but when we stopped at our B&B in Chester a very plump Robin was sitting on the wall. I was more excited about seeing the robin than I had been about seeing Buckingham Palace.....Maybe I shouldn't admit that.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I was not aware that the two were different. I wonder why they are both called robin?

Hope you had a lovely day out!

Country Girl said...

Isn't it wonderful that you can pose a question and then return later to find all the answers in your comment section? I think this is great!
And I do look forward to tomorrow's post . . .
Your little robin is quite fetching.

Reader Wil said...

Our robons are exactly the same as the British ones we call them Redbreast. They are tame you can even hand feed them after a while. They don't like other robins around like yours. In New Zealand the robins were totally different.

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

My ignorance is showing - I thought all robins were alike. Our American robin is a welcome sign of spring with its distinct red feathers on the underbelly and throat. Your robin looks entirely different but is still a welcome sign of spring. Lovely photo!

Heather said...

I count myself very fortunate, Weaver, as my eye has improved by the hour today. I am so impressed by the way hospital staff work, often in old buildings which need updating, but giving us the expert care and treatment we have almost come to take for granted. By the way, I love your new blog heading photograph - so green and so English - beautiful.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…
Our American robins are found coast-to-coast. They are members of the thrush family and excellent singers, with a sweet, clear, lilting voice, quite musical. While they resemble your British robin, they are darker, with a more deep-red breast, and slightly larger. They often travel in flocks, and in spring, it isn't uncommon to to out the window and see 100 or more robins on the lawn.

As to why they have the same name—you may choose either nostalgia or incompetence, but the truth is that the first European settlers noted the similarities in appearance (without, perhaps, noticing the dissimilarities) and gave them their name. I didn't your birds was different until I happened to see a British robin in a movie—possibly the Secret Garden—and thought "that's not a robin!" Then I looked things up and realized the difference.

A few posts back (SMALL THINGS MAKE A DIFFERENCE) I had a shot of an American robin in a snow-cover tree. I have no idea how to do a link with this comment back to my blog, but if anyone can find their way there, they're welcome to look.

Good post, BTW.

Chere said...

Weaver, I live in Atlanta, Georgia and love Robins. To me they are the first sign of spring. When I see them digging in my yard for worms I know spring is here. They are only in my area for the warm months.

Robin Mac said...

Do you only have one type of robin in England? We have about 15 different robins here in Australia, I loved the yellow robins which were around my home town in southern Queensland, we also had some red robins, and I have checked in the bird books to discover there are pink and grey and hooded ones as well. Cheers, Robin (person not bird!)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Well folks, I think that between you you have provided a pretty comprehensive lot of information on both English and American robins. Interesting how Scribe says the American robin got its name - I have now heard that from two sources. Comforting that Scribe has no idea how to do a link - that makes me feel a lot better - I couldn't do it if I tried. That's what is so good about blogging - you can do it with the minimum of expertise on the computer and just keep learning new little tricks as you go along. Sorry it is such a duff picture of the American robin - if I find a better one on Google I will change it - he is such a lovely bird, the picture doesn't do him justice. Thanks for all your comments.

Red Clover said...

Wow~!!! I had no idea a Robin wasn't a Robin everywhere!!! Yes, the American Robin is everywhere! I was just enjoying glancing out the window yesterday and seeing some big fat ones arriving, ushering on the spring. I loved the British Robin. Quite a nice looking fellow, if I ever saw one.

EB said...

There's a brilliant little book, long out of print I imagine, which people who like Weaver's writing might well enjoy, called "Birds As Individuals" by Len Howard. It was published in the 50s. There is a lot about robins in it, as well as blue tits, blackbirds, finches etc. The writer observed many individual birds from their cottage over several years. She writes about them a little as one might a pet - I don't mean with sentiment, but about their personality and distinctiveness. It's one of my favourite books, well worth snapping up if you find one 2nd hand.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Our Robins are indeed different. Bigger yes, but also...well...they've always seemed just a tad...well...dumb. Yours, frankly, seem not only smaller, but quicker of mind. At least to me!