NON-FICTION//The Robin: A Biography- Stephen Moss

I have become slightly obsessed with the birds in my garden and one of our regular visitors is a robin who is AS HARD AS NAILS. Honestly, though he be but little, he is fierce. He stands apart from the friendly blue and great tits who live in the holly bush and I often hear him yelling at me at as walk up the garden to take teabags up to the compost bin. It helps to know your neighbours, right? That’s where this book comes in.

Moss explores how the nation’s favourite bird lives in and around our gardens; they might be cute, but they’re aggressive. If ever there was a bird with a Napoleon complex, it’d be the robin. Which is understandable, when you consider that their lives are short and ever-so-slightly brutal. It’s amazing how something so familiar to all of us has such a hidden life (although the cousin to our garden robin, who migrate, are shyer than the cocky regulars we’re used to seeing.) He also looks at the cultural impact the robin has and how the Phil Mitchell of the garden became so beloved that it’s now shorthand for Christmas.

It’s a fascinating book and one that’s opened my eyes to the social hierarchy in my garden- it’s sometimes easy to be distracted by the Game of Thrones drama taking place amongst the bigger birds. After all, you’re never that far away from a robin…

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