I would think that almost everyone in Europe is familiar with the Robin (Erithacus rubecula). It’s beautiful song brightening up even the dullest winter’s day. In the garden they can become fearless, looking for worms while you dig the plot, indeed with patience they can sometimes be persuaded to take food from your fingers.
However there is another side to the Robin. In autumn many thousands will join other species and migrate across the North Sea to the UK from the Continent. If conditions are right (wrong for the Robin) they will make landfall along the coast. Patches of woodland can contain many birds, but they are shy and elusive. Often all you hear is the high pitched tic tic tic alarm call, or catch a glimpse of something flitting about deep in cover. When you are looking for rare migrants the Robin will often fool you, leading you on a merry dance until ID is clinched. Eventually these birds will spread out to the rest of the Country.
So when you are in the garden this winter and ‘your’ Robin is serenading you from the trees ask yourself “I wonder what language he is singing in?”.