Marty Feldman wouldn’t like it


I’ve been meaning to write about another e-petition for ages but somehow haven’t got around to it until now.

David Lindo, the Urban Birder, started a petition to make the Robin our national bird following it winning a vote on the same subject (Hen Harrier came an amazing 9th remember).

And it has done very well and is on 12,000+ signatures. And so, a little while ago, it got a government response from Therese Coffey and Defra.  And what a soulless reply it is (and with a split infinitive too – what is the Civil Service coming to?).

I’d like the Robin to be my national bird, in England, and I have voted for it. You could too. But I dare say that if he were still alive Marty Feldman would not – see here (I thought that I might have referred to MArty Feldman on this blog once before, and I did, but since it was in 2012 then very few of you will have remembered or even read it then).

PS and my review of the updated edition of David Lack’s The Life of the Robin is here.


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6 Replies to “Marty Feldman wouldn’t like it”

  1. I'd forgotten the Marty Feldman reference but remembered the......................................................Linnet!

  2. I'd prefer something more uniquely British, lets think Scottish Crossbill. Nah to esoteric.
    Ah I know Lagopus lagopus scotica Red Grouse. What do you mean lots of Countryside Areliars" tossers shoot them really! That ought to be stopped.

    1. But the UK robin is unique -- it's uniquely tame while continental robins are shy and retiring. We've got a special relationship with it -- something to be proud of.

  3. We've got a few unique birds, Paul, it's just that, as with Scottish Crossbill, they are all very subtly so (British Great Tit Parus major newtoni, anyone? Oh go on, it's an admirable demonstration of Gloger's Rule), or are extremely localised in remote locations; unfortunately I can't see the nation going for either St. Kilda or Fair Isle Wen!

  4. "The robin doesn’t need official status to make it an icon of the British countryside. The Government is committed to protecting all wild birds, but has no plans to adopt a national bird at this time".

    So why has Red Grouse spp Driven got special status?

    What use is Defra/Natural England given it has failed abysmally to protect wild birds, most notably raptors?

    Could we redirect their budget to more useful projects, rewrite their business model perhaps?

  5. As something of an antidote to government soullessness, here’s another reason for choosing the robin – its near unique behaviour re female singing and winter territory holding. Imagine young children being taught about that.
    The striving for greater equality of the sexes has been a civilising process throughout history. There’s much more to do. But nature combined with imagination of the young mind is a heady mix. Get the messages right and there is every chance the next generation will grow up striving for sexual parity and for a fairer society in general.


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