There were two elections in Britain on May 7: the Conservative party won the general election, and now the result of the other one to decide the national bird has been announced: the colourful Robin has won it hands down.
India’s national bird is the Peacock, America has the Eagle, and several other countries have theirs, but strangely Britain never had a national bird. But now there is a discernible flutter among ornithologists and others as the humble Robin won 34 per cent of the votes cast.
More than 224,000 people cast their ballot in the National Bird Vote, organised by David Lindo, a keen bird-watcher, who whittled down a list of 60 birds to a short-list of 10 of Britain’s most familiar and loved birds.
In terms of voting percentage, organisers of the election said the Robin was followed by the Barn Owl, which received 12 per cent, and the Blackbird, 11 per cent. The Wren, the Red Kite and the Kingfisher came 4th, 5th and 6th respectively, while the Mute Swan came 7th, followed by the Blue Tit, the Hen Harrier and the Puffin.
Lindo said: “Despite being a seemingly friendly bird, the Robin is hugely territorial and very defensive of its territory and I presume that reflects us as an island nation that we will stand our ground.”
He said he hoped the government would now act to bestow official honours on the robin.
Grahame Madge, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: “Our birdlife is rich and varied, but perhaps it is no surprise that it is the Robin which has stolen our hearts. It is the bird which summer and winter wherever you are in Britain is only a flutter away from our footsteps: a worthy winner.”
Environment minister Rory Stewart said: “The Robin is synonymous with the British countryside and I’m delighted that so many people voted in the poll to name it their favourite bird.”