Little robin red breast

Stewart McDonald

They adorn festive greeting cards that are covered in snow and frost-coated berries. They are also seen all year round, so why is little robin red breast so synonymous with Christmas?

Why are robins associated with Christmas?

Robins have been associated with Christmas ever since Victorian times; Victorian postmen, who were known as 'Robin Red-Breasts' because of their red waistcoats, are thought to be the inspiration for so many robins appearing on our Christmas cards.

Whether this is the case or not, robins certainly make themselves known in winter with their loud, aggressive song!

What does robin song sound like?

Robins sing from prominent perches right through the winter, when both males and females hold territories; indeed, they are fiercely territorial, driving off intruders and even fighting, sometimes to the death...

During the breeding season, the female is allowed into the male's territory where she sets up a nest of dead leaves, moss and hair. Robins are famous for nesting in some very odd places including plant pots, old wellies and on shelves, but ivy and other shrubs are their natural choice.

The UK's national bird

In the 1960s, in a vote publicised by The Times, the robin was adopted as the unofficial national bird of the UK. In 2015, however, the robin was officially voted Britain's national bird in a poll organised by famed 'urban birder', David Lindo. Our little robin red breast took 34% of the final vote, with the barn owl coming in at second place (12%) and the blackbird reaching third place (11%).

Robin perched on a tree branch covered in frost during winter

Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Do you feed the robins in your garden?

Robins and other garden birds need a little helping hand during winter, when their natural foods are harder to find. Our friends at Vine House Farm have a great selection of high-quality, high-energy food that's perfect for the winter months, and will give 4% of all sales back to us, so you are helping local wildlife in more way than one!

Stock up at Vine House Farm