🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

OC Robin up-date

My OC Cape Robin (Cossypha caffra) – keeping an eye on me while I fill up the feed tables

I still have not been able to capture a pic of my OC (Obsessive Compulsive) Robin in my kitchen – he’s as fast as lightning when he sees me approach. Doesn’t leave in a panic, but just fast enough so that I can’t get a photo. He’s also taken to sitting on the back of one of the dining room chairs and singing his full song, the whole repertoire! The song consists of variable short passages of musical notes, always starts with low slurred whistle cherooo-weet-weet-weeeet. Couldn’t believe my ears when I heard it so close-by from my studio and, upon investigating, there he was, singing to his heart’s content!

Another discovery I’ve made is that I now have two Robins in the garden. My Robin was sitting near the feed table and I heard another one higher up in the tree and I am hoping that it’s a female. Now I know that, most often, it is usually the males that sing to announce that they hold a territory. The song warns other males to keep away, while enticing females to come closer. The song itself also identifies the species of the singer: it does not do to fraternise too closely with the wrong species!

Although the basic tune, tone and volume are always the same, subtle differences exist between individuals. In fact every individual has a unique voice. Each Robin recognises its neighbour’s voice exactly as we humans know a friend over the phone. This is very useful to a Robin because a quick early morning burst of song tells everyone who is who, no need to spend unnecessary energy on old established relationships. On the other hand, if a newcomer appears there will be much jousting in defining new boundaries.

And now I’ve discovered something new – he likes apple! Caught him snacking on the fruit on one of the feed tables and I only managed to get some photos through the lounge window – as soon as I went (slowly) outside, he flew up into the tree, keeping a vigilant eye on me. 

Hoping that Robbie might choose the 'Money Plant' hanging on my patio to nest in.

I have been told that Robins will sometimes nest in a pot plant inside the house. Then arrangements must be made to have some opening where they can go in and out. That’s not a problem here, my lounge door is always open, so I’m just hoping I will be that lucky enough as to have him bringing his wife inside soon. The Cape Robin-Chat is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Cossypha caffra will seek out a new mate.

Robbie's snack of mince meat set out on the kitchen counter

Nico Myburg of ‘VillageLife’ reports, “One could write a whole story about the nesting sites chosen by robins. In the wild they will nest low down in thick bush, or low down in a bushy tree. Once they move into your garden, which they seem to prefer, being the first bird to move in where people have settled, they may nest in hanging baskets of ferns, in pot plants or empty baskets lying in a corner on the stoep. There are a number of records of robins building their nests in a jam tin containing nails or screws, inside a discarded shoe in the garage or in a pile of fire wood. One nested in an open drawer with old clothes in.”

The lampshade (with proof of his visits) where Robbie spends a lot of his time - will have to replace the shade soon!



  1. Just like our Robins, they choose some odd places to build a nest. They have been seen to use a kettle. I once saw one in a cardboard box high up at the back of a junk shop. I hope yours nests somewhere near by.busy

    1. My wagtails are the same, one nested on top of a roll of wire standing in my shed and we couldn't do the fencing until she had finished rearing her babies! lol! I also hope Robbie stays nearby, I'll let you know if he does.

  2. Oops. The word 'busy' was supposed to be inserted before 'junk shop'.



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