Today marks the end of a historic vote: the day Britain has chosen its favourite bird species to represent the nation.
Out of 60 birds one has come out on top: the robin!
213,000 voted and 34% chose the red-breasted robin as the winner, almost three times as many as the bird in second place at more than 75,000 votes.
David Lindo, known as ‘The Urban Birder’ invited everyone to vote for the bird that best represented all that is British. “We’re supposed to be the national leaders when it comes to being animal lovers” he said, “I feel embarrassed as someone who lives in the United Kingdom that we don’t have a national bird”. Mr Lindo is going to lobby the newly elected government to instate the winner of the vote as the official national bird.
In the past the robin was the unofficial national bird, voted for in a poll for the Times, and it seems to have won it’s way into the hearts of the nation with most of the votes in it’s favour.
The Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is one of the few birds that sings during the Winter, and with its close links to Christmas it’s not hard to see why this bright red little bird won the election. They also breed in a wide variety of habitats, from city centres to woodlands and gardens.
There is also much folklore surrounding them. Tales tell of robins granting favours to humans and if you make a wish on the first robin of Spring before it flies off you’ll have luck throughout the following year. However there are more macabre stores of robins foretelling death should they fly into your house or peck at your window, and that if you harm a robin’s nest you will be struck by lightning!
Famous writings on the robins include the ballad ‘Babes in the Wood’ and the rhyme ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’.
The final vote was between 10 short-listed birds, having been whittled down from 60 which were voted on last year. These ranged from the feral pigeon and parakeet to the turtle dove and nightingale.
The final 10 birds were:
1st – Robin
2nd – Barn Owl
3rd – Blackbird
4th – Wren
5th – Red Kite
6th – Kingfisher
7th – Mute Swan
8th – Blue Tit
9th – Hen Harrier
10th – Puffin
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