The Robin’s Red Breast
Today’s blog comes from ecology graduate Tom Harper. Tom loves being in nature and learning about the species that make up different ecosystems.
If you’re like me, you’ll be itching to get outside at the moment, exploring the wealth of nature Northumberland and the UK has to offer. But don’t worry – you can! By craning your neck to look out of the window and by taking your time to listen carefully you will see our feathered friends. Over the next few weeks I’ll be talking about some of the birds you will be likely to see in your garden.
The robin is a little bird, full of character, that has long been associated with our gardens, boldly coming close, seemingly fearless and even known to feed out of the hand. Its distinguishing feature is the large patch of red feathers on its breast, a welcome sight in the greys and browns of winter. But why does it have a large red breast? Isn’t this like having a target pinned on your chest in the eyes of predators?
In the kingdom of birds, usually the males are brightly coloured or have exaggerated features. This is to look pretty for the less colourful ladies who choose the most handsome and strongest males to produce offspring with a high chance of survival. But female robins have almost exactly the same physical appearance. So that means red patches aren’t for sexual selection right?