Sep 17 2011
Our robin was named by British immigrants for this bird they remembered from home. Though our American robin has a gray-brown back and rusty breast the resemblance is only superficial. Our robin is a thrush twice his size.
The European robin (Erithacus rubecula) is a perky little bird whose behavior is more like a wren than a thrush. Centuries ago he was considered a thrush but has long since been reclassed as an Old World flycatcher.
This robin is especially loved in Britain where he’s relatively unafraid of people. He’s known to frequent gardens and hop down next to the gardeners when they dig the soil so he can look for newly exposed insects. Some robins will even feed from a person’s hand like our black-capped chickadees.
I’ve noticed American robins take an interest in overturned soil but they won’t come close to us. I wonder if their wary attitude was a disappointment to those who knew the original “robin redbreast.”
(This is a featured photo on Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)