FEISTY RED-BREASTED ROBIN CROWNED BRITAIN’S NATIONAL BIRDKeith
Feisty Red Breasted Robin Crowned Britain’s National Bird
Almost 225,000 votes have been cast since the ten finalists were announced in mid-March but with an overwhelming and not altogether unexpected majority of 34% – more than 75,000 votes and almost three times as many as the bird in second place – the feisty, red-breasted robin has emerged victorious.
Did you know that the Robin is a vicicous little bird and will often fight to the death with its robin rivals.
A consistent visitor to our gardens, a year-round songster and popular enough to have earned itself the moniker of ‘the gardeners’ friend’, this plucky, unmistakable bird with its bright red breast, stout shape and long spindly legs is often referred to as Britain’s most familiar. Fitting then that birders and nature lovers across the country put pen to paper and finger to keyboard to vote for it in their droves.
Second and third place in the vote – cast via a website, postal votes and ballot boxes in schools across the UK – became a closely fought battle between the barn owl (above) and the blackbird. The nation’s favourite owl claimed 12% of the final tally coming in with an impressive 24,870 votes, narrowly beating the beady-eyed blackbird’s 11% or 23,369 votes.
The tiny, flitting wren or ‘Jenny wren’ claimed fourth spot with 9% of the total votes cast. Results for the remaining six birds were incredibly close with the relatively recently reintroduced red kite – a conservation success story – earning 6% in fifth position and the iconic but less often spotted puffin a shock entry in last place, garnering only 5% of the final count – full results of which are shown below.
Britain’s National Bird results
Robin 34% (75,623)
Barn owl 12% (26,191)
Blackbird 11% (25,369)
Wren 9% (19,609)
Red kite 6% (14,057)
Kingfisher 6% (13,922)
Mute swan 6% (13,480)
Blue tit 6% (13,123)
Hen harrier 5% (12,390)
Puffin 5% (10,674)
Voting began back in the autumn of 2014 when a list of 60 British birds was released by birder and campaign organiser David Lindo. This round of proceedings saw the skylark, cuckoo and nightingale eliminated and perhaps less surprisingly – also ended any hopes of success for the ring-necked parakeet, the pheasant and the feral pigeon.
Their longstanding association with the festive season dates back to Victorian times when early Christmas cards were delivered by postmen who wore bright-red coats and, hence, became known as ‘robins’ or ‘redbreasts’.