Robin, the Bird




***** Location: Europe, America
***** Season: Various, see below.
***** Category: Animal


American Robin, click for more photos
The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a migratory songbird of the thrush family.
kigo for spring

The American Robin is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
It was also depicted on the 1986 Birds of Canada series Canadian $2 note, but this note has since been withdrawn. Robin's egg blue is a color named after the bird's eggs.

The Tlingit people of Northwestern North America held it to be a culture-hero created by Raven to please the people with its song.

The Robin is considered a symbol of spring.
A well-known example is a poem by Emily Dickinson, "I Dreaded That First Robin So". Among other 19th-century poems about the first robin of spring is "The First Robin" by Dr. William H. Drummond, which according to the author's wife is based on a Quebec superstition that whoever sees the first robin of spring will have good luck.

American popular songs featuring this bird include "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along", written by Harry M. Woods and a hit for Al Jolson and others, and "Rockin' Robin", written by Roger Thomas and a hit for Bobby Day and others.

Although the comic-book superhero Robin was inspired by an N. C. Wyeth illustration of Robin Hood, a later version had his mother nicknaming him Robin because he was born on the first day of spring. His red shirt suggests the bird's red breast.
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CLICK for more European Robins

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Robin redbreast
non-seasonal topic

Can be seen during all seasons, often in winter. It is also related to Christmas.
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Look at a ROBIN Christmas Card.

The Robin has a fluting, warbling song in the breeding season, when they often sing into the evening, and sometimes into the night, leading some to confuse them with the Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos). Nocturnal singing in urban Robins occurs in places that are noisy during the day, suggesting that they sing at night because it is quieter, and their message can propagate through the environment more clearly. Daytime noise outperformed night-time light pollution as a predictor of nocturnal singing activity in urban robins in Sheffield, England.

The robin was held to be a storm-cloud bird and sacred to Thor, the god of thunder, in Norse mythology. More recently, it has become strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role on many a Christmas card since the mid-19th century.[28] The Robin has also appeared on many Christmas postage stamps. An old English folk tale seeks to explain the Robin's distinctive red breast. Legend has it that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the Robin, then simply brown in colour, flew to his side and sang into his ear in order to comfort him in his pain. The blood from his wounds stained the Robin's breast, and thereafter all Robins got the mark of Christ's blood upon them.

An alternate legend has it that its breast was scorched fetching water for souls in Purgatory. The association with Christmas, however, more probably arises from the fact that postmen in Victorian Britain wore red uniforms and were nicknamed "Robin"; the Robin featured on the Christmas card is an emblem of the postman delivering the card. Robins also feature in the traditional children's tale, Babes in the Wood; the birds cover the dead bodies of the children.

Britain does not have an official national bird. The Robin was the most popular bird according to readers of The Times in the early 1960s. Following this, despite some lobbying, the British government did not actively promote the concept of an official national bird. The Robin was used as a symbol of a Bird Protection Society for a few years only.

Two English professional football clubs, Bristol City and Swindon Town are nicknamed "The Robins"; the nickname is derived from both clubs' home colours being red. A small bird is an unusual choice, though is thought to symbolise agility in darting around the field.[31] In addition to the football club, the Swindon Robins is the full name of the local Speedway promotion. It is also the nickname of the English Rugby League team Hull Kingston Rovers. The nickname is derived from the club's home colours, of white with a red band, linking to the redbreast of the Robin.
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Worldwide use


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Japanese Robin
(Erithacus akahige, formerly Luscinia akahige)
kigo for summer

Japanese Robin, red breast, komadori 駒鳥 (こまどり)

Things found on the way


Autumn sunshine -
a bird on a leafless twig,
in solitude...


Tomislav Maretić, Croatia, 2007

Robin is a kigo for Spring, but here they are only singing birds in the Autumn.

Related words

***** Birds of Summer Japan


1 comment:

Narayanan Raghunathan said...

redbreast robin
watches the twilight sky
sings a soliloquy to Thor