…. Robin miniature 2

February 12, 2016

It has been an unsettlingly warm Winter here in interior British Columbia, with Spring bulbs actually starting to poke up through the ground.  Unsettling, because being only mid-Winter, we might well suddenly get one of those Arctic inflows and see temps plunge to -20C, which would effectively ruin what shouldn’t have already begun sprouting, including fruit trees.

It wouldn’t be surprising at all to actually see Robins returning in February, when their normal return isn’t until mid-March.  Being such avid worm-hunters, I have wondered at their early returns here, particularly as to what they find to eat.  The answer is the Mountain Ash berry and other lingering berries.  The danger, apparently, is eating ones which have fermented, thereby becoming naturally alcoholic and responsible for killing birds who eat too many.

This miniature is of the British/European Robin, which doesn’t reside in Canada.  But English Robin miniatures are snapped up in our Gallery simply because they have established such a rich literary following, and also appeal to Canadian emigres.

The difficulty painting a bird the painter has never seen–and therefore isn’t familiar with–means it may not be true to how the bird actually looks.  However, this particular bird has so frequently been depicted in book illustrations and greeting cards, that its persona lives beyond its ‘real life’ comings and goings.  So here in Canada, getting the English Robin ‘right’ isn’t as stringent a matter as getting the Canadian Robin right–a bird everyone is familiar with, and therefore has to be flawlessly rendered.

They seem so very sweet.


16 Responses to “…. Robin miniature 2”

  1. …THANK YOU Janette!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They are sweet, and so is your painting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. …oh my, thank you Nimi!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. …wow. how very kind to tell me this! Thank you Simon–I’ve been reading your great post on Jolly the dog

    Liked by 1 person

  5. simon682 said

    Have spent much of this English day watching a pair of robins keep watch over their demesne, I can give my verdict that you have captured the beauty and character of the bird almost perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. From another blog I read about unseasonably warm temperatures in Britain as well. I worried about the same thing you did, that a cold spell could easily come along and kill all the plants that have started developing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. nimi naren said

    Absolutely beautiful


  8. …. NOT in the toilet! hahahaha. My dad from rural Alberta raised rabbits in our Rochester, NY backyard, under the guise of their being our ‘pets’. One day I found him skinning them as they hung from the rafters of the garage and asked him what he was doing, (he thought I’d gone off somewhere with my friends) “I’m–well, I’m taking their coats off for the summer.” “Oh,” I said and went back to playing. Not long after that my sister, during Sunday dinner, huffily pushed her plate away and said, “This isn’t CHICKEN! This is ‘Fluffy’!!!” Horrified, my brother and sister and I refused to eat chicken after that. I still won’t eat rabbit, not that I’m in danger of being served it, mind you, Cynthia.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good luck as you rekindle that resolution. “Squab” is an item on the menu of some upscale restaurants, but I always thought those were common pigeons. My former partner’s Italian grandmother, who lived in the city, used to catch pigeons (I forget how), drown them in the toilet, and roast ’em….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ….cynthia, plump ‘anything’ is cute–no?–especially if it lands on our tables roasted. I’ve read how in centuries past, songbirds were a delicacy (ie baked in a pie). The thought of that is borderline disgusting today, though quail come pretty close. My getting plump has put me back on our elliptical trainer–new year’s resolution revived.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Teresa, I looked it up and discovered the European Robin is specified as a ‘chat’ — a ‘flycatcher-thrush’. I believe ‘daintier’ sums it up nicely. The N. American Robin is NOT dainty. They come up our way to nest. In nesting mode they are really quite aggressive and territorial, letting fly with shrill multiple sharp chirps and chasing rivals off their turf. Once their young are reared I hardly hear them, as they become quite docile until they head South for the Winter.


  12. I think for me the cuteness of this little guy is in his roundness and plumpness….like those little cherubic putti that are always perching everywhere in Renaissance paintings….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Much as I adore thrushes (the American Robin is one), I love the European Robin because it’s not a thrush and is much daintier and more cute. 😉 I especially love them from Beatrix Potter stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ….how very kind you always are, Sharon


  15. What a treasure, thanks for posting. And, I always enjoy your narrative Lance.

    Liked by 1 person

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