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And the UK’s favourite bird is… but do you agree?

The robin has won a public vote to find the UK’s first national bird – easily beating rivals such as the barn owl, blackbird and wren. I can’t say that I’m surprised.

No doubt the robin’s familiar red breast is swelling with pride after it won 34% of the 224,00 votes cast in the campaign, started by BBC Springwatch presenter and ornithologist David Lindo.

He now plans to ask the government to officially recognise the robin as our national bird.

Why I love the UK’s favourite bird

I adore robins. They’re one of the first birds you learn to identify as a child, plus they’re synonymous with Christmas – a big plus for any kid.

Not only do they look gorgeous, I think they’ve got a really lovely nature, too – despite those who claim they’re ‘aggressively territorial’.

I’ve got one that hangs around my garden and it pops up any time we’re in our conservatory or our garden. My sons absolutely love it – it dive bombs across our patio, then sits on the fence watching them play.

It’s always quick to investigate if I’ve been digging. It’ll even check out any new visitors we have, by sitting on our fence and peering in through our kitchen window. I’d love to know what’s going on in its head – whether it’s really wondering who this new person is, what their business is and whether they’ve brought any mealworms.

We can all relate to a robin

One of the reasons why robins probably came so high in the survey – the robin received 34% of the votes, with the barn owl in second place on 12% – is that we can all relate to them. They are estimated to live in around 85% of British gardens. Talking to friends and family, lots of people seem to have their own robin.

My mother-in-law has spent a few years feeding hers and it’s incredibly tame. It will hop right up to her when she brings it out its breakfast and even take mealworms from her hand. She gets lots of birds in her garden – ranging from tits to finches, and the occasional sparrowhawk. But her favourite is her robin.

On her advice, we started putting out suet pellets with mealworms on a raised table for our robin. These go down very well and so far – touch wood – haven’t been found by any squirrels.

In fact my love for robins is only matched by my dislike for grey squirrels, who once nibbled their way into my loft and caused a lot of damage. But that’s another story…

So do you have your own robin? And do you agree with the results of the survey, or would you prefer for another bird to have won?

Comments
Member

I vote for the kingfisher. They are small but there is never any doubt about identification.

Member

They are lovely and nice to see them catching a fish, but they’re shy and not something most people could hope to see. Robin’s are so cocky and friendly, which means I agree with the vote.

I miss my Rocky Robin 😥 https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/pets-killing-wildlife-keep-cats-out-of-your-garden/comment-page-1/#comment-80129

Member

There’s one in our garden that gets so close when I’m cutting the grass, it’s like he’s saying, ‘will you just hurry up and get on with it and let me get at those worms.’

Member

Robins are vicious birds – not something I’d choose as a UK representative. I’d want a bird that we can all see and one that is the most proliferate throughout the UK. We had it almost as a national bird when it appeared on the back of a farthing. It is, of course, the pretty little wren. I wonder if the vote was rigged by the reds….?

Member

My favourite common bird is the common blackbird. As a child I delighted in watching them building nests and feeding their young. I have one nesting in the pyracantha at present, incubating her second batch of eggs. One year I had a blackbird that took great interest whenever I did any gardening, to the extent that I had to be careful not to impale it with the garden fork. It reappeared the following spring and then I never saw it again.

Member
Col says:
13 June 2015

It’s right that the friendly little Robin should be formally recognised as the Uk’s national bird.
Those of us of a ‘certain age’ will remember the Robin figured on the farthing coin.

Member

I’m beginning to be more suspicious about this poll – the robin seems to have even infiltrated the minds of those of a “certain age”. The bird on the farthing was most certainly a wren. Perhaps this poll should be rerun. UK wrens tend to stay here all year round whereas robins are prone to become non-doms. On a more sinister note, robins kill up to 10% of their compatriots in territorial disputes; I don’t want that sort of behaviour to be condoned in the UK. So join the WAR – Wrens Against Robins.

Member

Malcolm,
You will be pleased to know that the wren is the national bird of England according to wikipedia.

My favourite bird is probably the long-tailed tit with the wren not far behind.