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Good old Anglo Saxon nursery rhymes

The only thing the American robin (Turdus migratorius) and the original robin redbreast (Erithacus rubecula) have in common is red feathers. They are otherwise completely different birds. The American robin is a sort of big thrush; the British robin is one of those tiny round puffball bastards, like a chickadee.

The robin was once voted Britain’s favorite bird. He’s a cheeky, aggressive little sod, often pictured perching on the handle of a garden spade. Because, apparently, he’ll fly down and do that if you’ve been turning earth, to check if you’ve dug up any worms.

He’s also one of the few songbirds that overwinters in the UK. Very confusing to an American, all the robins on Christmas cards.

Anyhoo, I just ran across this: the nursery rhyme “Little Robin Red breast” boasts an unusual number of variations. The reason? Trying to get around the original last line:

Little Robin Red breast,
Sitting on a pole,
Nidde, Noddle, Went his head.
And poop went his Hole.

So. There you go.

January 31, 2012 — 10:50 pm
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