Saturday, 22 March 2008

Dorset Miscellany & Robin courtship

Well it must be Easter. Sunny but absolutely freezing. A good excuse to stay in and eat Easter Eggs then.

What do you think of this? The local free paper "Blackmore Vale Magazine" had this article this week. Now this would be something to add to the Dorset County List. What a wonderful bird, I wonder where it came from? Surely not global warming, ha ha!!

Following on from my posting about Crows earlier in the week, just for Oldcrow and ST (their blogs are worth a peek, on my links), I spent half an hour in the garage before her indoors awoke to try for some Corvid pictures through the window (which is why they're not quite sharp). I'd put some fat balls out on the lawn and in the end 13 Rooks and 3 Jackdaw came to feed, plus the usual squabbling starlings. The photo bottom right just shows how fearsome a Rook can look. Especially to an earthworm.

Finally, I wonder how many of you have seen Robin courtship? I forgot to mention earlier in the week, while walking into work on Thursday I stumbled across this wonderful behaviour. Robins like many birds "food pass" between the male and the female to strengthen the bond as part of the courtship ritual. It also helps the female build up energy/fat reserves without having to forage herself. Producing eggs is an energy sapping business, so the man of the house is doing his bit for his lady, before the actual mating takes place, known affectionately as "treading".

The female basically takes up the posture of a juvenile, this one was on a branch. Fluffing herself up, flitting her wings, calling (can't describe it well but a "scheep scheep" is sort of there) and keeping her gape open, the male searches for tasty morsels to feed her. Robins being quite bold in towns, I was lucky enough to be only a few feet away and so able to watch this for about 2 minutes. In that time the male returned 3 times. Keep a look out as it was a wonderful experience to behold.

I mentioned this to Thelma and she said sounds good, bring me a cup of tea in bed......


  1. The pictures are wonderful. How lucky you were to see the Robins at their mating rituals.

  2. Glad you liked them. Indeed, sometimes it's the common birds which bring just as much of a thrill as the rare ones.

  3. Love reading your blog and the photos are great too. I live in Dorset and am an avid creature/bird/flower spotter.I agree that the everyday stuff is as good if not better than the rarities. Best Wishes Goosey