December – Forget robins, the bird for Christmas is . . .
Robins, robins everywhere. Not only real ones but others of all shapes and sizes in Cranleigh’s shops. Christmas is coming!
And this year there are more decorative robins than ever. Must be related to the ‘redbreast’ topping this year’s poll to choose our national bird.
They are abundant locally and sing all seasons 24/7. If you leave a carol service around midnight there’s good chance one will still be in fine voice nearby.
Everyone seems to know robins. So I had to laugh when the Mary Poppins movie badly goofed by having her in London with a singing American Robin in her hand. That ‘Yankee’ species is twice as big as ‘our’ bird.
But ‘our’ bird is not always as faithful to your garden as you might think. And maybe it doesn’t really deserve to be our ‘national’ hero. It’s international. Robins from around here have deserted the village and been seen hundreds of miles away.
Perhaps you can’t blame them. A Ewhurst bird was found living it up by the beach on the west coast of France. Another sneaked off to Prince Charles’ favoured Swiss ski resort of Klosters. The one you fed at your back door in the summer could be in Spain right now for a winter warm-up.
For me though, the best Christmas bird (apart from the Turkey) is not the robin but the much scarcer and aptly named song thrush. It brings such a huge dose of seasonal cheer to those blessed with a visitation.
Last year one arrived in the garden on November 17th and until June pumped out powerful tunes before dawn to beyond dusk.
You could hear its varied repertoire half a mile away. And the music played on – even when its eggs were sadly predated at Easter.