Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The round robin: Roly-poly bird who looks like he's swallowed a Christmas bauble


Full of Christmas cheer: This rotund robin looks like its swallowed a bauble

It is usually turkeys that are fattened up at this time of year but this roly-poly robin appears to be the one who has eaten all the mince pies.

The fat feathered fellow's bulging belly is so big it looks like the little bird has swallowed an enormous Christmas bauble.

The round robin was captured on camera by wildlife photographer Colin Varndell, who spotted the bird resting on a sagging tree branch in his back garden.

They also plump up their feathers to keep warm air in which also gives them the appearance that they are carrying extra weight.

Mr Varndell, from Netherbury, Dorset, said: 'I've never seen such a fat-looking robin.

Perched: The bird was snapped on a bending tree branch in Mr Varndell's back garden in Dorset

'I have been taking pictures of wildlife for 22 years but I've never seen one like that.

'I have seen him in our back garden before but it has been difficult to get close to him.

'But the snow makes it harder for birds to forage for insects in the ground, so when it started snowing I knew he would be persuaded to come out for his food.

Wide load: Like most of us, the Robin plumps up over the Christmas period, albeit for different reasons

'My wife and I put some mealworms out near our bird feeding station and waited. It wasn't long before he appeared.

'He kept a close eye on us but crept closer and closer to the mealworms, allowing me to get a head on shot.'

A spokesman for the RSPB said: 'If you get a harsh winter small birds like robins are vulnerable because their food supply dries up.

'One way of getting through it is for them to consume as much high-calorie food as possible at this time of year.

'When they are cold they also plump up the top layers of their feathers and that keeps the warm air close to their body.

'It's a bit like adding another tog to your duvet.'

Robins are one of the tamest bird species in Britain. One reason for this is they are used to standing very close to gardeners digging over soil so they can pick up worms afterwards.

Robins are associated with Christmas because in the Victorian times when the custom of giving Christmas cards first started, the postmen wore red tunics and were nicknamed robins.

There is also the belief that a robin bird took the thorns of the crown that Jesus wore.

source: dailymail

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