South African readers will attest to the inquisitive nature of the Cape Robin-chat. They are shy birds – yet, with time, endear themselves to their garden hosts by adopting a confiding demeanour. This relationship is enhanced if food becomes a part of it. The Cape Robin-chat vies with the Olive Thrush to be first to inspect the offerings on the feeding tray – both get chased by the Common Fiscal, only to return in a flash once the latter has flown off. Cape Robin-chats love cheese and finely chopped meat. I have written before of one which made itself very at home in our house when we still had a cat. It would inspect nearly every room in the house, making sure to help itself to cat food in the kitchen, and would even peck at any crumbs left on the dining room table. We would sometimes be treated to a song while it perched on the door of the lounge while we were having tea!

With the demise of our cat came the absence of the Cape Robin-chat. I missed its visits, although not having to clean up behind it! Recently I began to be concerned that we might have nocturnal visitors in the form of mice for I found tiny droppings on the windowsill in the lounge. Then I found the odd squishy visiting card on the back of the couch, on the table cloth on the dining table, and on a shelf in the kitchen … a familiar image came to mind. Caught in the act: I looked up from my knitting to see this little creature perched on a bookcase.

It was quite at home and clearly knew its way around. What a happy sighting! They are always on the lookout for food, often just peeping out of the shrubbery.

Everything is carefully scrutinised.

Even an apple will do.

Robin-chats are very wary of potential dangers and can be gone in a flash. There are times though, such as this, when one comes almost within touching distance of me in the garden.

Such encounters leave me with a warm feeling inside.


    • This is an interesting aspect of architecture and the cost of building, Eliza. When I was young our doors and windows were screened for the same reason. As building costs increased these disappeared along with porches or verandas – such a shame in this climate that needs both!

      Liked by 1 person

    • We get the odd bird coming into the house now and then and have to help them out. The robin, however, clearly knows its way around and is able to find its own way out. I enjoy that.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Such delightful photographs of a rather charming bird…I would like to adapt your photographs for my quite loose sort of watercolors if you do not mind. If you do mind, please say so here and I will not use them this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dis so oulik, Anne! Ek kry gereeld een in my kombuis, wanneer die deur oopstaan. As ek inkom, vlieg hy so saggies en skelm weer uit. Dis lieflike voëltjies!Pragtige storie, dankie.


  3. Oh, Anne! That you are hospitable to your birds to this degree and have the appropriately friendly visitors to appreciate it — is delightful! When birds end up in my house or garage, as a few have in the last few months, it is to their dismay, and they only want out. But in their frantic distree they need lots of help to get there.

    Did you say if you have read One Wild Bird at a Time? You could write your own similar story. Just collect a score or two of these wonderful posts.


    • You are very encouraging! I find that watching birds in our garden has been particularly therapeutic during this very long and rather harsh lock down period brought on by the pandemic.

      Liked by 1 person

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