Friday 29 January 2016

The Squabble in the Hedgerow

You may get the impression that my walks through the past few days have blessed me with little wildlife vignettes, some I get to photograph,  while some I don't, like the grebe feeding its young I wrote about yesterday.

This little incident, I'll call a score draw. It was when I was slowly walking the bark path in the old oak wood at Sconce Park, listening for bird calls and enjoying how silent the soft bark was making even my clodhopping footsteps. Hopefully I wouldn't scare anything away.

Looking up the bank, I spotted a robin sat low in the bushes, silhouetted against the bright sun. I managed to get the one picture, and then I circled up the bank to try and get the light in the right place to really do the bird justice.

As I did so, I noticed another bird approach from further along the line of bushes. "Trouble here" I thought aloud, and immediately afterward, the two birds launched at each other.

There was something rather sumo like it. The birds both aimed at a spot of bare earth, and collided with each other on the ground in a chaotic tangle of legs and wings, the birds shapes rendered senseless by the ferocity of their attack; they didn't fly at each other, they just seemed to roll themselves up into a ball and throw themselves.

The second bird came of worse, it seemed, and retreated back to a branch further away. But it didn't give up, and had another two or three goes, launching madly into attacks that the established bird easily repelled, apparently merely by letting the other bird bounce off it, like its little red breast had a big "S" on it somewhere.

I wasn't able to photograph any of the fighting; it was far too fast for my fingers and camera, but I got several snaps of the victorious bird, who is obviously getting ready for the breeding season with a spot of early male bluster.

I wonder how he'll do. Hopefully next time, he'll be gracious enough to look at the camera.



  1. It's those feisty Robins again! I love to watch them at their antics!

  2. Love Robins... I have spotted 2 in our hawthorn hedge, one sang to me whilst I was in my potting shed. They didn't fight so I'm hoping that they are male and female. Be nice if they nest in the garden like they did last year :o)

  3. They are supposed to be very territorial, but I seem to have quite a number in my garden judging by the amount of singing in winter! I haven't seen them having a fight yet. Maybe cos I have quite a bit of space, I don't know. And still I have not got one single decent robin shot!

  4. Lovely shots!
    So cute-looking and fights so fiercely... well, some of his ancestors were rather ferocious.
    Have a great weekend!

  5. Beautiful birds, excellent images Simon.

  6. I've certainly heard three singing around my own driveway at once, I don't know how big their territories tend to be!

  7. They are so fascinating to watch - have seen them fighting in the garden and they really can be very vicious! Great you got pictures of the victor :)

  8. Thank you Robin, I'l keep my eyes open for more top of the bill clashes!