It wasn’t known that female Robins sing until less than 100 years ago. Male scientists seem to have assumed that they didn’t. It was only when Irish civil engineer James Parsons Burkitt studied ringed Robins in his own garden that he discovered female Robins sing to defend their territories in autumn and winter.
When Margaret Thatcher heard a Robin singing in autumn outside No 10 Downing Street she announced that she had heard a Nightingale. When it was pointed out that all Nightingales would have left for Africa, as they are summer visitors, she replied ‘If the Prime Minister says she heard a nightingale, she heard a nightingale!’