The robin is a popular visitor to gardens and is well-known for its tameness. In the winter they will regularly visit a bird-table to eat kitchen scraps. Robins have become symbols of Christmas-time in Britain and are often depicted on Christmas cards.

Breeding

The male robin sings loudly in the early spring, hoping to attract a mate into his territory. When a partner has been found, the male brings his mate tasty bits of food which she begs from him with quivering wings - this strengthens the pair bond.

The female builds the nest, usually amongst bushes or in ivy on trees, or in holes in walls, making a domed structure from leaves and grass, and lining it with roots, feathers and hair. However, robins often nest in unusual places such as old teapots, kettles, pans and inside sheds and garages.

Mating occurs mainly from late March to June - robins sometimes even nest as early as January. The female lays 5 - 7 eggs which are whitish, lightly mottled with red-brown patches and spots. She incubates them for 12 - 15 days, whilst her mate brings her food at frequent intervals.

When the eggs have hatched, both parents share the task of feeding the young, taking care of them for about three weeks, by which time they can fly and are independent. The baby robins are brown with spotted chests.

If the first brood has been an early one, then the parents are likely to raise a second or third brood. Quite often the male takes over the feeding of the first fledglings while the female sits on a second clutch of eggs.

Within the first two months after fledging, the young robins undergo their first moult and the adult plumage replaces the body feathers. The wing and tail feathers are moulted the following year.

Nearly three-quarters of young robins die before they are one year old, most of them being caught by predators. The ones lucky enough to survive will establish their own territories before winter.

Read More: Robins and Humans

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