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The Bullfinch
Look at the bright colours of this beautiful little bird: y...

The Flamingo
Is not this a beautiful bird, though rather singular in its...

The Swan
You are no doubt well acquainted with this beautiful bird, ...

The Kestrel
This picture represents the kestrel, one of the smallest an...

The Albatross
This is the largest of all sea-birds, and you are not very ...

The Eagle
The Eagle is often called the King of Birds, and therefore ...

The Duck
There is so much that is interesting to tell you about the ...

The Vulture
This strange looking bird is also a bird of prey; but it fe...

The Robin Redbreast
Every little boy and girl well knows this pretty little bir...

The Quail
The quail is the smallest of the poultry tribe, and is a pr...


Least Viewed

[illustration: The Goose]
Amongst the Romans this bird was held sacred to Juno, their s...

The Pheasant
This beautiful bird comes originally from the East, and tak...

The Magpie
The Magpie is a very pretty and cunning bird. It is easy to...

The Lapwing
This little bird which is often called the Pewit, from its ...

The Goose
Have you not often heard people say "as silly as a goose"? ...

The Owl
This solemn looking bird is seldom to be seen by day. It is...

The Quail
The quail is the smallest of the poultry tribe, and is a pr...

The Robin Redbreast
Every little boy and girl well knows this pretty little bir...

The Vulture
This strange looking bird is also a bird of prey; but it fe...

The Duck
There is so much that is interesting to tell you about the ...



The Robin Redbreast








Every little boy and girl well knows this pretty little bird. His bright
eyes and rosy breast delight us even before we hear his lovely song. And
do you not remember that when the babes in the wood were left alone, to
die, by that cruel robber, after wandering about till they were so weary
that they lay down and slept the sleep of death, it was the Robin
Redbreast who "painfully did cover them with leaves." One would think
the robin must be very fond of little boys and girls. One thing I am
sure of, and that is that they love him very dearly, that they delight
in the very sound of his name, that they scatter crumbs upon the window
sill for him in winter, and that they would not disturb his nest for
all the world.

Robins are not very often to be seen in the summer, for they fly far
into the depths of woods and lonely places to rear their young. So
amongst the chorus of sweet singers who make melody when leaves are
green it is not very common to hear the voice of the robin, though he is
said to sing very constantly by the side of his mate, whilst she sits
upon her eggs or broods over her young ones. But in autumn, Robin comes
nearer the abode of man, and it is difficult then in country places to
skirt a field or wander in a lane, without seeing a brisk little bird
with ruby breast perched upon the hedgerow, pouring forth a sweet and
gentle song. This is the robin, and we love his notes all the more at a
time when few other birds still sing. Nay, even in the winter when, the
Nightingale and many other warblers have left our shores to spend the
chilly months in some warmer climate, the robin only draws nearer to our
homes, makes his abode in our gardens, pecks up the crumbs at our very
doors, nay, often finds his way into our houses, and rewards every
kindness shewn to him with the same sweet flood of song that he poured
forth amidst the woods in the days of summer. Many very pretty stories
are told of different robins who have been tamed by kindness until they
seemed to lose almost all that fear of man which is generally so
striking in birds.

"The birds of heaven before us fleet."

I have heard of one who came to live almost entirely in the chamber of a
sick gentleman, and grew very fond of ground rice pudding, which was a
favourite invalid dish. But the out-door feeding of robins is not so
dainty in general, and I am sorry to tell you that, by those who have
taken pains to watch robins, and study their wild habits, these birds
are found not only to prey on live worms, which is natural enough, but
also to spend much time and trouble to prepare the poor things for food,
in a way that must be any thing but agreeable to the victims. For the
robin does not eat the whole worm, only the outer skin, and, to get rid
of the inner part, Mr. Robin takes the worm in his bill and dashes it
about on a stone with great skill until he has effected his purpose. He
is also a very pugnacious bird; that is he is very fond of fighting, I
am sorry to tell you, but such is really the case. He will not allow
other robins to build in the same bush with him. He never joins himself
in friendly company with his fellows, and on occasion he can fight very
heartily: so heartily that a lady who writes much that is delightful, of
birds, and amongst them of robins, tells the following story. She was
once sitting with a family party, when a cat rushed in with two robins
in her mouth, which she had pounced upon in the garden whilst they were
engaged in such a desperate battle that they did not see their enemy at
hand. One head stuck out at each side of puss's mouth, but of course she
was instantly seized and forced to let go her prey, when both robins
flew away as if not much hurt. But for all this Robin Redbreast is a
very charming little fellow, and well deserves a warm place in your
regard.

Some years ago a pair of robins took up their abode in the parish church
of Hampton, in Warwickshire, and affixed their nest to the church Bible
as it lay on the reading desk. The vicar would not allow the birds to be
disturbed, and, therefore, provided another Bible. Another instance is
related where a clerk, in Wiltshire, found a robin's nest, containing
two eggs, under the Bible on the reading desk. The bird was not
disturbed, and laid four more, which were hatched in due season. The
cock-bird actually brought food in its bill and fed the young brood
during Divine service.





Next: The Bullfinch

Previous: The Quail



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