REDBREAST, Erithacus rubecula – A common resident.
During the extreme cold in the winter of 1880 Robins and many other small birds, such as Hedge-sparrows, Wrens, Chaffinches, Blue and Great Tits, flocked into our house for warmth and shelter. We had at least half-a-dozen Robins distributed between the hall, kitchen, and dining-room. The little visitors became quite tame, hopping fearlessly about on the carpet, and picking up the crumbs thrown to them. In this way they were all preserved until the arrival of the welcome thaw, when they returned to the outside world.
One summer a Robin used to come in at our dining-room window, and alighting on the table would amuse himself by pecking at the pen with which one of us might be writing, and by playing with the writing implements in general. He would spend hours with us, flying to the top of somebody’s head, and remaining there whenever the cat came into the room. Sometimes he would make his appearance at, and enter, the bedroom windows. After several months of this familiarity, which was altogether uninvited, he suddenly disappeared, having fallen a victim, we feared, to some cat or hawk.
One summer a Thrush feeding on our lawn was watched by a Robin that flew down and seized a worm from it directly it caught one. This would be done again and again until the Robin’s appetite was satisfied. The Thrush made no resistance, seeming to take the theft as a matter of course, and suffered itself to be treated in this manner day after day. We fancied it had in some way been hypnotized by the Robin.
Every year among the Robins’ nests that we detected in our grounds at Stone Hall there would be one containing pure white eggs, by no means a common variety.