The American Robin, a migratory songbird ( Turdus migratorius), is a thrush but named after the European Robin because of its reddish-orange breast. The American Robin is active all-day, assembling in large flocks at night to protect it against predators.
When feeding in flocks, it is vigilant, watching out for other birds. Their diet consists of beetles, grubs, worms, caterpillars, fruits, and berries. The American Robin is the most abundant bird in North America, with more than 370,000,000, and it has seven subspecies. There are Robins in every country, and the Robin symbolises hope and new beginnings. Here is a list of what the Robin Symbolises:
- A symbol of Religion
- A symbol of Good Luck
- A symbol of Spring
- A symbol of Christmas
- A symbol of Life
- A symbol of Death
Countries around the globe have a notable history in what the Robin symbolises. Keep reading to find out precisely what these are!
History of the Robin
The Robin features in British folklore and parts of northern France and is often featured in ancient fairy tales. It has become associated with Christmas, often depicted on Christmas cards. A very old folklore tale explains Robin’s bright red breast that was a simple brown colour before the death of Christ.
Legend says that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the Robin flew to him and sang in his ear to give him comfort, and the blood from the wounds stained Robin’s breast, and from that day on, all Robins are red-breasted.
In 1960 the Robin was adopted as the unofficial national bird of the United Kingdom, and since then, many sporting teams have named themselves the Robins.
The American Robin
In America, the story of how the Robin came by its red breast is different, and the American Robin has its place in Native American Mythology.
The story of how the Robins’s breast became red says that the Robin was fanning the flames of a dying campfire to save a Native American man and a boy! In much of America, the Robin is considered a symbol of Spring, and poems have been written on the subject and popular songs about the Robin.
Are Robins Good Luck?
Many ancient superstitions surround the Robin and good luck, and seeing a Robin is meant to bring good luck, and folklore states that making a wish when you see a Robin increases the potential for the wish to come true.
Another superstition involves illness in the house. For example, leaving the window open in November is said to bring luck and if a Robin flies in the illness will disappear, healed by the Robin.
On the other hand, stealing or harming the Robins’ eggs will bring a lifetime of bad luck.
A Robin flying over a coal mining pit was said to be an omen of bad luck and disaster.
Keeping a Robin in a cage is also highly unlucky and will bring you terrible luck until you release the bird.
Description of the Robin
Both males and females are similar, with the female being slightly duller in colour than the male. The American Robin’s breeding habitat is usually in farmland throughout the United States.
Preferring large shade trees and build their nests often on nesting platforms where they lay three to five light blue eggs. The eggs hatch 14 days after laying and two weeks after the chicks leave the nest and are capable of flight.
Like everything in nature, not all of them survive, and bird watchers say that only 25% of young Robins survive the first year. When they survive, they can live up to 14 years of age.
Robins on Christmas Cards
If you are in the UK at Christmas time, you will notice that the Robin is all over the Christmas merchandise. The Robin became more widely associated with Christmas after initially depicted on an early Christmas card. In the old days, British postmen wore bright red uniforms, and with their red-breasted coats, they became known as ‘the Robins’.
A trend for having the Robin (bird) depicted as a symbol of Christmas took off, and ever since the early days of Christmas cards, the Robin has been a symbol of Christmas.
Even before this time, the Robin was associated with Christmas through myths down the ages, and having a Robin on the cards made sense. Red is such a cheerful colour, especially when there is so little colour around, making a splash of red extremely welcome.
The Robin is even found in Australia, where the Flame Robin is highly territorial, fiercely defending its territory against invaders and indulging in breast puffing displays, a sign of aggression in birds.
Pairs are generally monogamous for life, and the male looks for a suitable place to nest, then the female constructs the nest alone. The nest is deep, made of soft grass bark and moss. If another bird lays eggs in its nest, the Robin will reject them.
The Robin as a Spirit Animal
As a spirit animal, it represents a change to Spring. The Robins’ symbolism is like most spirit animals where there are several different ideas of what the Robin signifies. Usually, it is growth, change, and renewal. They are self-reliant little birds and protective parents.
In ancient Egypt, it was believed that if someone died while watching Robins flying over, their souls would be reincarnated as a bird. The Robin is a vital energetic little bird ushering in warmth and joy.
In the Celtic culture, the Robin is seen as a symbol of luck and love and must never be harmed as this would bring bad luck. As a spirit animal, it represents your inner personality while guiding and protecting you.
They must be strong little birds as they survive the harsh winters. Where other birds migrate to warmer climates, the Robin stays in its home territory, waiting for Spring.
In many cultures, the Robin is seen as an omen bringing both life and death and symbolising renewal. It is incredible that we have Robins on nearly every continent across the world and that for many cultures, the Robin holds a deep meaning rooted in superstition and folklore.
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