ANIMAL MAGIC

 

 

 

The Robin

 (Erithacus   

   rubecula)

    

Folklore and Magic..

The beautiful Robin widespread across europe, is a very special well known easy to recognise bird and in Northern European mythology should never be harmed, or terrible misfortune will affect the perpetrator.

 

In some legends the robin was all brown until it was touched with the blood of Christ as Christ hung on the cross. Another legend says that the Robin scorched its red breast in the fires of Purgatory, mercifully taking drops of water in its beak for the lips of the parched souls in torment, In Wales this act has earned the bird the name bro-rhuddyn - `breast burnt´.

 

Yet another legend says.. if a Robin dies in ones hand, that hand will always shake uncontrollably;

 

`"how badly you write", I said one day to a boy in our parish school; "your hand shakes so you can't hold the pen steady. Have you been running hard, or anything of that sort?" "No" replied the lad, "it always shakes: I once had a robin die in my hand; and they say that if a robin dies in your hand it will always shake."´

  

 

There is a famous rhyme about the Robin `Who killed cock robin´. The rhyme print dates to about 1744, although its probably a much older tale.

 

Its a enchanting children rhyme for children learning to read, as the rhyme repeats itself and can easily be picked up by school children.

 

Hundreds of years ago robins were called redbreasts..  in those times postmen wore red tunics and were nicknamed robins..  and over time the redbreast became  `Robin Redbreast´.

 

Robin Redbreast Fact File;

 

  • The Robin has a distinctive `tick tick´ call. and wonderful melodious high pitched song used to attract a mate and usually sings all year round.

 

  • Three quarters of robins die before they are one year old! either caught by predators, or unable to fend for themselves due to loss of habitat.

 

  • Robins are fiercely territorial over food supply. Not more than one robin will occupy a small garden, unless it is his mate.

 

  • In winter the robin puffs up its plumage to insulate its body against cold winds.

 

  • When the male robin has found a mate, he will bring her food.. worms, caterpillars etc, which she begs for noisily while quivering her wings and is often mistaken by the observer as a mother feeding the young.

 

  • In Britain the robin is very fond of gardeners, turning the earth thus digging out grubs and worms which the robin will happily feed on.

 

  • In winter time when food is scarce.. be sure to keep the bird table topped up with food.. especially fatty foods, and go a step further and throw some scraps of bird food under the hedges if the area is cat free.

                             Robin distribution Map.