Robins in Ireland
robin is one of Ireland's favourite birds. With it's striking red
breast the robin is instantly recognisable. The robin is a plump
bird with olive-brown upper parts and a white/grey belly. The legs
and the beak are brown in colour. The male and female are very similar.
Juvenile robins do
not have any red feathers and this may be a defence mechanism against
attack from territorial adults. Until they reach adulthood immature
robins have speckled buff-brown upper parts and underparts.
Resident robins are
joined by immigrants from continental Europe birds from Scandinavia.
The visiting robins are generally more pale that Irish residents
and they tend to be less tame.
Robins are very territorial
right throughout the year round. In the spring and summer this is
for breeding purposes. During the rest of the year this is to protect
feeding grounds. Robins will vigorously defend their territories
to the point of death.
Although the average
life span for a robin is just two years the longest lived robin
was recorded at eight years and five months in 1977.
Name for Robin
Irish word for robin is Spideog.
robin's diet is largely based upon insects and worms. They usually
swoop down on their prey after watching from a perch or other vantage
point. Robins are renowned for following gardeners to pick off larvae
and grubs left in the human's wake.
They are also known
to have a sweet 'beak' and will relish any confectioneries left
out although mealworms are a healthier option. With a little patience
robins will learn accept food from the hand.
Both male and female
robins command separate feeding territories in the winter and they
will defend them. By midwinter robins will have paired-off and will
remain together until the following autumn moult.
robin's nest is made from grass, moss and dead leaves. It will be
lined with hair, wool, or any other soft materials. They usually
build their nests in a hole in a wall, tree cavity, ivy, or a bank.
Notoriously, robins will nest in less orthodox locations including
sheds, garages, cars, post boxes and garden barbecues. They have
even been known to build a nest in coat pockets. If you wish to
encourage robins to nest in your garden use a open-fronted nest
eggs are smooth, dull and are white or pale blue with reddish spots.
Only the female incubates the eggs however the young are fed by
both female and male.