Robin Road Rage

Robins are often depicted in serene wintry settings on Christmas images and are thought of as peaceful birds. However, that may not be entirely true.

Angry robins

When robins encounter loud urban noises such as traffic, they can become angry and aggressive according to researchers.

They might look cute with their distinctive red breasts, but they are known to be aggressive. They are very territorial, and don’t like to share their habitat with other robins. They warn off rivals by singing loudly, puff out their chests, and bob from side to side. Sometimes they even go as far as fighting with other robins.

Urban robins angrier

Aggression is also more likely to be a factor for robins that live in urban environments than those that live rurally according to research carried out in Turkey.

Traffic noise raises aggression

Researchers studied two areas; a busy area in the centre of Istanbul and a quieter habitat on the edge of the city. Plastic robins were placed inside the habitat of a live robin. They also played birdsong and traffic noises through a speaker. The research found that robins in the quieter rural setting would become more aggressive to the model after hearing the traffic noise as they weren’t used to it. The robins in the central urban area were less aggressive and just reduced their song. The conclusion was that robins in the city had learned to not compete with traffic noise and were more accepting of it.

It suggests that robins use their song to communicate with each other. Without that ability to communicate they can’t warn each other off. Fights are more likely to break out in the event of them not being able to hear one another and them not yet being adapted to louder noise pollution.

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