19 Jan 2022

Kildare Wildlife Watch: Rockin’ robin around the Christmas tree

With the Irish Peatland Conservation Centre

Kildare Wildlife Watch: Rockin’ robin around the Christmas tree

The robin. Picture: Peter Foss

Throughout the year I have shared with you a variety of local wildlife that in most cases you can find within your community. Although I have shared this week’s species before, this garden bird is such a welcome visitor and a delight to see.

Almost any time you take a spade to your garden, the robin (spideog as Gaeilge) will join you. It is also a species that is associated with Christmas — indeed many of the Christmas cards that you will send will feature a robin on the front.

Of course, this is how the robin has such strong associations with Christmas. In Victorian times, the English postal service wore red uniforms and they were nicknamed the ‘robins’ or ‘red breasts’ and this was around the time the first Christmas cards were sent.

The robin is also one of the most recognised garden birds due to its red breast. Thankfully, the populations of this garden bird are considered good, with BirdWatch Ireland recording two million breeding pairs in Ireland, and identifying them in 99% of Irish gardens each winter.

While most birds nest in trees or hedgerows, the robin often builds its nest on the ground in hollows and tree roots. They feed on a diet of garden mini-beasts, and this is why as soon as you begin digging in your garden, the robin will join you to take advantage of the rich supply of earthworms you will bring to the surface.

Robins also come to your garden bird feeders and enjoy a tasty feast of apples or other fruits and seeds you provide. For such a small bird, they are extremely territorial so the robin you encounter is often the same bird you may have seen the day before.

While the weather forecast does not predict a white Christmas, we can always dream of one!

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year and don’t forget, if you would like help identifying local wildlife or indeed like to share your images of local wildlife encountered to be used in a future Wildlife Watch, contact me on 045 860133 or

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