‘He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song’
~ lyrics by Jimmie Thomas
I’ve been reading a book by a man who has gradually been losing his hearing and, as the book progresses through a year of his life, so he has lost the sounds of certain birds whose songs are no longer within the range of his hearing. I find this incredibly sad but it’s also made me value even more the birds I can hear, like this little Robin. Having finished its breeding and parenting duties and its moult, it’s now singing to stake its claim on a nice bit of territory to see it through the lean months of winter.
Winter seems finally to have arrived and it was frosty when I arrived at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park early this morning, hoping for a nice long walk before the school holiday crowds arrived. Unfortunately, in my haste to leave home, I forgot to fill my seed container so had nothing to offer the hungry birds. This fluffed-up little Robin was not at all impressed.
‘Art thou the bird whom Man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin …’
~ from William Wordsworth, ‘The Redbreast Chasing the Butterfly’, 1806
Blogger’s note: This particular little cutie, with whom I shared some quality moments – me chatting and it peeping – at Penarth Heads beach on Monday, is actually a Welsh (not English) Robin. And its breast is really more orange than red but I’ve just this week found out why it was formerly known as Redbreast and described as having a red or scarlet rather than orange breast – it’s because orange as a colour (which originated from the fruit of the same name) was unknown in Britain prior to the mid 16th century.
Robin: ‘The food table’s looking a bit empty!’
Me: ‘Well, hello to you, too, Robin.’
Robin: ‘Oh, okay. Hello, lady.’
Me: ‘Nice to see you today.’
Robin: ‘Never mind the small talk. It’s cold and I’m hungry!’
Me: ‘So, what else is new?’
Robin: ‘I’m still not seeing any food here. Suet is my favourite, y’ know.’
Me: ‘Yes, I know. And you’ll glare at me until I give you some, won’t you?’
Robin: ‘Darn right!’