Everyone knows the Robin; his reddish-brown breast, gray back, white throat, and dark wings and tail are easily remembered. If you colour the drawing, you will always remember it afterward. The Robin comes about our houses and lawns; it lets us get close enough to see it. It has a loud, sweet song. All birds have a song[A]; and all sing when they are happy. As they sing most of the time, except when they are asleep, or when moulting, they must hav
Here are some things to remember about the Robin. It is one of the earliest of all our birds to get up in the morning, and it begins to sing long before there is daylight.
Birds that live in the trees, hop; birds that live on the ground, walk or run; but the Robin lives partly in the trees and partly on the ground, so sometimes he hops and sometimes he runs.
When he alights on a fence or tree, he looks at you and flashes the white spots on the outer corners of his tail. Again and again he does this. Why? That is his way of letting you know that he is a Robin. He is saying in signal code—flash and wig-wag—"I'm a Robin, I'm a Robin, I'm a Robin." So you will not mistake him for some bird that is less loved.
The Robin invented pottery before men did; his nest is always a clay pot set in a little pile of straws. Sometime, get a Robin's nest after the bird is done with it; dry it well, put it on the fire very gently; leave it till all the straws are burned away, and then if it does not go to pieces, you will find you have a pretty good earthen pot.
The Robin loves to make these pots. I have known a cock Robin make several which he did not need, just for the fun of making them.
A friend of mine said to me once, "Come, and I will show you the nest of a crazy Robin." We went to the woodshed and there on a beam were six perfectly good Robin nests all in a row; all of them empty.
"There," said my friend. "All of these six were built by a cock Robin in about ten days or two weeks. He seemed to do nothing but sing and build nests. Then after finishing the last one, he disappeared. Wasn't he crazy?"
"No," I said, "not at all. He was not crazy; he was industrious. Let me finish the chapter. The hen Robin was sitting on the eggs, the cock bird had nothing else to do, so he put in the time at the two things he did the best and loved the most: singing and nest-building. Then after the young were hatched in the home nest, he had plenty to do caring for them, so he ceased both building and singing, for that season."
I have often heard of such things. Indeed, they are rather common, but not often noticed, because the Robin does not often build all the extra nests in one place.
Do you know the lovely shade called Robin's-egg blue? The next time you see a Robin's nest with eggs in it you will understand why it was so named and feel for a moment, when first you see it, that you have found a casket full of most exquisite jewels.
Next to nest-building, singing is the Robin's gift, and the songs that he sings are full of joy. He says, "cheerup, cheer up, cheerily cheer-up"; and he means it too.