Robins are often only noticed at Christmas but they are with us all year.

Their association with the festive season is believed to have begun when scarlet-jacketed postmen were delivering Christmas cards, and the similarly coloured robin redbreast soon became linked to this tradition.

However, there is more to them than many of us might know.

Their tuneful voices, along with their cheeky attitudes and bright red breast, have endeared robins to the British public In 1960 they were crowned the UK’s national bird.

But don’t be fooled by their cute appearance, they are aggressively territorial and can be quite vicious. This is because they hold their territories all year round, warning off intruders with song.

Males may hold the same territory throughout their lives, and will even attack their own reflection if they mistake it for another individual.

Help robins thrive

As with all bird species in the UK, habitat change and destruction, removing suitable nesting sites and insect food as well as disease are always potential threats but luckily the robin population is robust and adaptable and can seem to cope with change well. But what can you do to help robins thrive?

You can do three things to help robins – provide food, water and shelter.

Simply putting out a bird bath or a dish of water is great, make sure during the cold months this is prevented from freezing over.

As for food, the robin will happily eat a range of seeds, suet or fat balls.

You can also provide fruit, or morsels of fat such as crumbled cheese or buggy nibbles.

An open-fronted nestbox placed on a wall, shed or tree will give them somewhere to nest in and raise their young during the spring and summer and potentially somewhere to roost in during the winter.

Allow a clear flight path but make sure it isn’t in a too obvious place where it can easily be found by predators.