Help Ruby Robin and her friends.
In a few weeks it will be National Robin Day - SongBird Survival's annual nationwide event to raise awareness of our small birds and other wildlife and how we can all help them survive the harsh winter months ahead.
What is #NationalRobinDay all about?
On 21st December, Ruby Robin, the hero of National Robin Day, brings people together, inspiring them to take action for wildlife, and showing how simple steps can help our wildlife through this difficult time of year. Ruby Robin represents all our struggling garden birds in the UK who need our help. The cold winter months are especially tough; as temperatures drop and food becomes scarce our wildlife desperately needs a helping hand.
This is where you come in!
Whether building a bird feeder, making a wildlife-friendly space in your garden, holding a fundraising event; or buying one of the #NationalRobinDay products from http://bit.ly/NRDShop, No matter how small, every action goes a long way to helping Ruby Robin and her friends. Everyone can get involved, it’s really easy for your workplace, school or group of friends to take part, visit nationalrobinday.co.uk/join-in for some great ideas to get you started!
The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is perhaps the best-known of all British birds and a common visitor to our gardens. British affection for the robin was cemented in the 1960s when it was adopted as the UK's favourite bird. In 2015, the robin scooped the title of Britain's National Bird in a poll organised by naturalist David Lindo. However this fondness for the robin is not shared in other parts of Europe, where sadly it is shot for food or sport.
The robin has long been woven into Britain's cultural tapestry - most notably for its close association with Christmas. There’s the lovely story of the little brown bird who protected the face of baby Jesus from flames of the hearth in the manger. The fire scorched the little bird who's breast was forever thereafter red as a mark of its kind heart. Robins also became popular on festive cards when they were first sent in the mid-18th century replacing images of postmen wearing red jackets, nicknamed 'robins'.
Did you know?
Male and female robins are virtually identical in appearance with an instantly-recognisable 'red breast' and face. They also have a distinctive and beautiful song. During the breeding season, the ‘spring song’ is fluting and warbling, but turns more plaintive in their ‘autumn song’.
The average lifespan of the robin is two years, although nearly three-quarters of British birds die before they are one year old, either the victim of predators or unable to fend for themselves. Fiercely territorial, only one robin will occupy a territory unless it has a mate. Consequently, 10% of older robins die defending their territory.
Robins are not too particular about food when their usual diet of spiders, worms, caterpillars and insects are scarce in winter and will eat just about anything put out on a bird table, especially fatty foods such as unsalted bacon rind and cheese.
They usually only pair up for the breeding season, from March to June in Britain, and build a cup-shaped nest made from moss, grass and leaves, lined with hair and feathers.
Like their eating habits, robins are just as unfussy about nesting sites; which have been known to include barbecues, watering cans, wellington boots, flower pots and even post boxes and coat pockets!
Both parents take responsibility for feeding and looking after their young who fly the nest after a couple of weeks. Juveniles are a rather dull, spotty brown colour and it takes two to three months for them to sprout orange feathers under their chin and a similar period again for this patch to extend to complete the adult appearance.
Why do Ruby and her friends need your help?
Nature brings us all so many benefits. From the beautiful birdsong we hear when we wake up in the morning, to the trees that clean the air we breathe, the wonders of nature are all around us. But sometimes we take these for granted.
Our birdlife is suffering. In the last 40 years tree sparrow numbers have fallen by a drastic 96%, willow tits are down by 91% and the beautiful singing skylark has dropped by 63%. We can’t afford to ignore these and many more worrying statistics.
What would Christmas be without our favourite national bird, the robin?
National Robin Day was born to inspire collective action to help save our garden birds. By being part of National Robin Day, you can join with thousands of bird lovers across the UK to celebrate Britain’s favourite bird and help protect our wildlife for future generations.
Why not share a little joy this Christmas with your feathered friends?
Every bird feeder made, product purchased and every penny raised will help save Ruby Robin and her friends.
More information about National Robin Day and how you can get involved can be found at www.nationalrobinday.co.uk