Bird nerd part 4: Christmas cards

Christmas really must almost be here. This week we had our first Christmas card (thanks Aunty M!). It was a sweet image of two little birds, snuggled up to each other on a snow-covered branch. You can picture it, can’t you?

Except you’re wrong – it’s not two little robins, it’s two bluetits instead. This is a bit unusual for Christmas cards – robins really seem to have cornered the festive bird market (if you exclude turkeys!). But there’s no reason why bluetits (or other birds) shouldn’t get in on the act.

Bluetit Christmas card

We see robins most of the year in our garden, although I don’t know if the one we see in winter is the same as the one we see in summer. It’s rare for us to see more than one, as they are quite territorial. Quite a lot of Christmas card artists seem unaware of that, and paint idyllic scenes with two or more happily perched in a tree. If that happened in real life there would either be breeding or fighting involved, which is less appropriate for a Christmas card.

We also see bluetits throughout the year, and are more likely to see several at once, so perhaps this card is more realistic than some of the robin ones I’ve seen.

Generally we see most of our birds more frequently and numerously in winter, when fewer other food sources are available, so Christmas card designers have plenty to choose from.

If you asked me which of our garden birds I associate most exclusively with winter, it would have to be the pied wagtail. Wagtails only tend to visit our garden when it’s very cold, and usually snowy. They’re not as colourful as robins (or bluetits), so perhaps that’s why they don’t feature on many cards.

Have you had any unusual bird Christmas cards? Which garden bird do you think would be best for a Christmas card?

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