Two wonderful poems to read with grandchildren are the classic poem by William Allinghamn, Robin Redbreast and the Mother Goose nursery rhyme that follows, The Robin. After reading these classic poems, ask your grandchildren, “How will Robin Redbreast survive when winter arrives?” I’m sure they will have some creative solutions! Then seize the opportunity to learn more about this easily identifiable bird and his habitat. The third poem is another well known Mother Goose nursery rhyme, Little Robin Redbreast. Read the poem together, then watch and listen to an animated version that follows. When you are finished, discuss with your grandchildren what other natural enemies birds may have and what creatures may need to stay away from birds!

Robin Redbreast

by William Allinghamn (1800’s)

Goodbye, goodbye to Summer! For Summer’s nearly done; The garden smiling faintly, Cool breezes in the sun; Our Thrushes now are silent, Our Swallows flown away- But Robin’s here, in coat of brown, With ruddy breast-knot gay. Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! Robin singing sweetly In the falling of the year.

Bright yellow, red, and orange, The leaves come down in hosts; The trees are Indian Princes, But soon they’ll turn to Ghosts; The leathery pears and apples Hang russet on the bough, It’s Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late, “Twill soon be winter now. Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And what will this poor Robin do? For pinching days are near.

The fireside for the Cricket, The wheatsack for the Mouse, When trembling night-winds whistle And moan all round the house; The frosty ways like iron, The branches plumed with snow- Alas! in Winter, dead, and dark, Where can poor Robin go? Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And a crumb of bread for Robin, His little heart to cheer.

The Robin

Mother Goose

The north wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will poor robin do then, Poor thing ?

He’ll sit in a barn, And keep himself warm, And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing!

Did you know? In the fifteenth century, when it became popular to give human names to familiar species, the bird came to be known as Robin Redbreast (or Robin Red Breast), which was eventually shortened to Robin.

Little Robin Redbreast

Mother Goose

Little Robin Red breast sat upon a tree, Up went pussy cat and down went he; Down came pussy, and away Robin ran; Says little Robin Red breast, “Catch me if you can”.

Little Robin Red breast jumped upon a wall, Pussy cat jumped after him and almost got a fall; Little Robin chirped and sang, and what did pussy say? Pussy cat said, “Meeow!” and Robin jumped away.

Little Robin Redbreast jumped upon a spade. Pussy-Cat jumped after him, and then he was afraid. Little Rob chirped and sang, and what did Pussy say? Pussy-Cat said: “Mew, mew, mew,” and Robin flew away.