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Combat and Courtship

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Robins are practically an icon of Christmas.  Just checkout the number of Christmas cards depicting Robins.  The popularity of this little bird grows stronger every year.  Here in the UK they're a very abundant species.  In a poll of UK Safari readers 95 per cent said they had a Robin regularly visiting their garden.

Late December is the time of year when male and female Robins start to pair up.  Both sexes look very similar, and this can cause some confusion - even amongst the Robins!

An unmated male robin, singing in his territory, is aggressive towards any intruding Robin, even if it's a female trying to win his affections.

Even the reflection of another Robin in a shiny window, or a mirror can be seen as a threat, and you may notice a Robin pecking at its own reflection.

If the intruder is another male, the resident Robin will either retreat or see off the trespasser.  If it's a female seeking a mate, she has to keep repeatedly approaching the male until eventually she's accepted.  Sometimes a gift of a worm or an insect can seal the deal.

The whole process can take several hours!  It's a wonder there are still so many Robins about.

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