Robin’s winter song

The robin is one of the few birds in the UK that sing in the winter as well as the summer. The purpose of the song is territorial; robins winter here and defend their territories all year round.

They fall silent only for a short period at the end of the breeding season when they moult. As well as looking general untidy, they lose their flight feathers which affects their capacity to evade predators so they hide away in the shadows during the moult and try to attract as little attention as possible.

When they resume their song, it has changed; it is more subdued and to the human ear sounds quite melancholy compared to the combative tone of their spring song.

Video by Maurice Baker

In the winter robins usually sing from a concealed perch inside a bush or a tree. They are adapted to life in poor light and are active in the half-light when few other birds are about.

Street lights and floodlights can trigger singing in the middle of the night, even in the winter, and if roosting robins are disturbed, they can burst into song in complete darkness.

More about the park’s robins:

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