One of the reasons that we all see Robins is that they are very easy to recognise. The adults have a bright red bib which is quite unlike any other bird we are likely to see.
Young Robins are a little harder to spot as they don’t develop the bright red bib for several months. They have a mottled brown appearance which provides great camouflage during their early vulnerable weeks.
We see Robins all year round because they are residents but quite uniquely we also hear them singing thoughout the year, even through Winter. It is a fair rule of thumb that if you hear a bird singing in the garden in November or December it’s a Robin.
Contrary to their cute, Christmas card image, Robins are actually extremely aggressive and territorial. They sing to define their territory and defend it from other Robins. In the Winter the Males and Females live separately, each defending a territory, only coming together for breeding in late Winter and early spring.
For the extremely diligent it is possible to define the various territories of the Robins in your area by noting where they sing and watching their movements. I’m not clever enough for this but I do seem to have different Robin territories at the back and the front of my house. At the front the territory seems to cover my front garden together with the garden of my neighbour on the opposite side of the road.
A Robin pair will raise several broods during a breeding season and often from different nest sites spread across the territory. I’ve been lucky enough to have the Robins nest in a camera bird box in my front garden but I’ve also seen them nest during the same season in the hedge of my neighbour. They are quite adaptable nesters and will use a variety of nooks and grannies, both man-made and natural. They will however abandon the nest if they’re disturbed, so if you see a nest do stay away, especially during the early stages before the chicks have hatched.
They take food from the floor and also from bird tables with a particular preference for Mealworms. They are not frequent users of hanging bird feeders but I have seen that they do use them a little when absolutely necessary.