Monday, 19 September 2011

A right royal robin rumpus

First of all, my apologies – I actually missed both of the shots below. The action happened very quickly and, at distance, the autofocus locked on to the foliage not the two robins. I've posted the images, however, because I think the story that accompanies them is one worth telling. I was sitting in the garden, simply waiting to see what might come into the bird feeders when suddenly there was quite a fuss coming from beneath a bush about 20 feet in front of me. Two robins were apparently locked in a tussle over territory. What surprised me, though, was the violence of the episode. First there was a brief stand-off, then they went at each other with quite some intent. The fighting – which was physical, not just posturing – moved from the grass to just above ground and, to my amazement, ended with one of the birds lying on its back motionless (see the inset image). The defeated robin could, of course, have been 'winded', but I suspect it was actually adopting a submissive pose in an attempt to bring the hostilities to an end. Certainly, after just a few seconds it righted itself and flew off, seemingly unhurt. Either way, I wish I'd managed to capture the episode but do feel privileged to have been given a glimpse into the life of the robin that was anything but picture postcard perfection.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens, 1/500th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 640


  1. Crikey! I've seen them fighting and they do go at it as you say.

    I've not looked at your spider postings...

  2. It is still a great photo though TIm.
    Robins are very territorial and can get quite nasty towards each other.

  3. I agree - still a good photo. Have you ever witnessed a robin hovering underneath before attaching itself to a feeder? It's fantastic; like a british humming bird! I captured it one afternoon but the feeder was in view so I'm not too keen. Still, I'll try again.