Robins – First Singers of Autumn

I find that filling the feeders in the early morning is at its most enjoyable in September, calm, still beautiful early autumn mornings, hopefully with a little warm sunshine, ensure it’s never a chore. As most garden birders will know garden birds are still fairly quiet in early September with almost no bird-song heard at this time of year. However our most well-known garden bird the Robin can be relied upon just now to break the silence with its crisp, melancholic ‘Autumn song’.

Many male Robins will defend a territory throughout the year so this ‘Autumn song’ is simply a continuation of territorial proclamation but combined with a still early September morning it seems to carry a pleasant sadness perfectly in tune with the passing of summer and the ending of another season. Don’t worry if you’re not a morning person, there’s another opportunity to hear the song at dusk as male Robins will sing again before going to roost.

As there is little else singing right now other than the occasional ‘me-too me-too’ from Coal Tits (or wheezy churrs from the local Willow Tits here), it’s a great time to learn Robin song off by heart before other garden birds begin to sing. Listen out for the high, thin notes that speed up into a trembling finale. If you can learn the song, listen out for it when you’re out and about, particularly at dusk, it’s a great way of getting to know how many male Robins are around your street, village or local patch. It can be quite surprising just how many singing male Robins are out there!

Keeping your local Robin well-fed is easy too as they enjoy a wide range of foods from furtively flying into the sunflower heart feeder to pick one out and dash to cover, picking at the suet balls or blocks to deftly grabbing a mealworm or two from the bird table or even the hand. They quickly get used to human presence and can be come very friendly and appear on schedule if you re-stock your feeders and table regularly.

To find out more about the Robin, check out our Fact Page here.


Our Garden Birder’s Diary is written by Northumberland-based birder Alan Tilmouth who has been birdwatching for over 30 years and writing about birds in various guises for the last decade. A keen garden birdwatcher, he also manages to unearth the odd rare bird on his travels. You can find Alan on Twitter and his Facebook blog.