Robins. Humans love them. We’ve developed a whole mythology around them and they form an essential part of our mid-winter iconography.
We imbue them with all kinds of human characteristics. They are ‘proud’, or ‘resourceful’, or ‘determined’.
Their breast is also not red, it’s orange, but the word orange didn’t exist in the English language until the fruit, after which the colour was named, was imported. Before that the colour orange was known as yellow-red. Robin Yellow-Red breast isn’t very catchy, is it?
I remember someone coming into our shared office a few years ago. Her mum had died recently. She was recounting the story of visiting her mum’s grave, and how a Robin had visited her there, and how she had realised that it was her mum’s spirit, and she started to cry. I felt terribly sad for her.
The reason Robins follow humans is because we have killed the Wild Boar which used to live here and Robins, who have evolved to follow foraging Wild Boar and take invertebrates in their wake, have to make do with following us instead.
The Robin wasn’t her dead mum’s spirit. It thought she was a pig. I didn’t tell her that though. Grief’s a terrible thing.