Monday 21 December 2009
The North Wind doth blow . . .
The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He'll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing.
This British Nursery rhyme is thought to date from the 16th century. It was intended to teach children to associate safety, warmth and security with home while allowing them to empathise with the situation of the robin.
The birds have been busier on the feeders since the weather has become colder, building up their fat reserves for the weeks to come and the huge expenditure of energy in the breeding season which starts much earlier than we may appreciate. During the autumn and early winter the robins have been defending their territories preparatory to pairing off. The female robin does all the chasing and eventually decides on her mate after visiting several males. The first indication of a pairing is two robins feeding alongside each other but they will not breed until Spring.