Filey Parish Advent Calendar 2009
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Friday, 4 December 2009

Blogging for Advent: Robins

The association of Robins with Christmas date back to around 1860 when the first Christmas cards were issued. At that time Robins were called Redbreasts and the postmen of that time wore bright red jackets to show they were servants of the British crown. Then they did not have Christmas off and they would deliver presents on Christmas Day!  So developed the association of the Redbreast with Christmas and often the Redbreast was nicknamed Robin Redbreast. By 1950 the bird’s name was shortened to simply Robin. Now its official name is the European Robin to distinguish it from other birds called Robins.

                                                   European Robin
In the world at least 84 species of birds are called Robins. The American Robin is a thrush with a red breast and dark head whereas ours shares the same family as the Chats and Flycatchers. The American Robin was named a Robin to remind early settlers of a popular European bird.

 American Robin
In Australia there are several types of Robin, eg  Scarlet Robin, Yellow Robin, Pink Robin, which belong to an unrelated family restricted to that part of the world. It showed that the British settlers had a homesick longing for our Robin by naming similar sized birds Robins.

                                                       Eastern Yellow Robin (Australia)

     In the winter our population of robins increase because those which breed in Norway and Sweden winter here but our birds also tend to stay here. They are also one of the few British birds which regularly sing during the winter.
  There is also a folk myth that when Jesus was on the cross the Robin removed a thorn from the Crown of Thorns and was splashed with His blood and that was how the Robin got its red breast.

1 comment:

  1. I had a great chat with my aged parent about this post! She remembers when the postmen worked on Christmas Day, and came for their Christmas boxes the next day. We are sending 'Robins' this year on cards with new enthusiasm