We interviewed Flirty Ruby Robin from her garden perch in the little village of Easterton, Wiltshire, England.
My name is Erithacus Rebecula but my friends call me Ruby. As a songbird I’m greatly admired for my distinctive bright orange breast, which contrasts nicely with my little whitish belly. It’s why you often find my species displayed on your Christmas cards.
Did you know that my orange breast feathers are absolutely unique to me?
Just as you have your own individual fingerprints, which distinguish you from others, we Robins have our own special feather patterns. No two feather-patterns are the same – so this is what makes me ME.
I’m a home bird and love my hood. I do like to stay very close to where I was hatched, the place where I grew up surrounded by family and friends.
We Robins are party birds and like to have big family get-togethers. It's fun to gossip with friends and sing, sing, sing. Our favourite thing to do is to perch under the streetlights in the evenings for a glorious singsong, chirping away in our little choral group. We females sing as well as the males.
I’ve got tons of relatives because I’m actually related to the blackbirds and nightingales. One of my party pranks is imitating the nightingale. I’m very good at it. I mimic nightingales so well that people sometimes think I am one.
So if there’s nothing going on during the day, I do like to have little rests and little naps. If I don't have any youngsters to look after, then I’m quite happy to sleep anywhere. I like to sleep on the low branches of my friend the gorgeous Rowan tree but often tuck myself in quite closely to other tree trunks so I can hear any rustling, which alerts me that something is coming then I wake up.
But most of all I love to sleep on a little shelf in sheds, or a garage is quite nice because you can get a super snuggly place in there. And my absolute favourite is to find a really lovely cozy pair of wellies, somewhere in the shed where I can just tuck myself in there and have a little snooze.
Ruby Robin speaks
It’s a wonderful life
It's spring. With so many shrubs, flowers and berries coming out on the trees, attracting butterflies and bees and loads of insects. They bring vibrancy and life into the garden. With so much happening I’m happy I can find an abundance of food.
But I do get worried in the winter when food is scarce. Let me say this: if you’re going to put out any bird tables in winter, which we really do appreciate, I love mealworms. They’re delicious, my absolute favourite.
When Sarah’s digging and pottering around I come and keep her company. She watches me. I’m a bit of a flirt so I use my charm to delight her.
Ruby was interpreted by
Sarah Richards, horticulturist, who loves all little birds, especially robins. “They're so beautiful. When a little robin turns up they always seem to know when you need company or reassurance. To see a robin is so comforting, especially if you're upset, or going through a tough time, or you've lost a loved one. Being with nature helps you to feel better.”
Sarah speaks to Ruby
You’re as curious about us as we are of you. Thank you for taking time out to be with me. I’m so grateful for our sweet connection.
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Sarah Richards was invited by her daughter Emilie Mai who during lockdown used Sarah’s garden as an outdoor studio for weaving and natural dyeing with foraged blackberry, elderberry, and hawthorn from their village walks.
Cover photo edited. Original by Karen Arnold.